Ri­vals show­down in fi­nal

St. Joe’s and Holy Trin­ity will be fac­ing off in the SDG foot­ball cham­pi­onship game.

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - SPORTS - TODD HAMBLETON tham­ble­ton@post­media.com twit­ter.com/Free­hold­erTodd

The two teams that battle each year un­der the lights in the Char­ity Bowl will have an af­ter­noon show­down Fri­day for high school foot­ball supremacy in Corn­wall and area.

The SDG cham­pi­onship game is at 1:15 p.m., and it pits a pair of peren­ni­ally strong clubs, the Holy Trin­ity Fal­cons trav­el­ling across town to suit up at St. Joseph’s against the Pan­thers.

“It’s a good ri­valry, and we’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to the game,’’ said Pan­thers head coach Mitch Zap­pitelli. “(Fal­cons head coach Jeff McAl­lis­ter) will have his team ready to play, and we al­ways look for­ward to play­ing Jeff ’s team.”

The Pan­thers were 5-0 for the reg­u­lar sea­son, and they won their semi­fi­nal play­off game at home last week against the Corn­wall Col­le­giate Golden Raiders.

The Fal­cons, 4-1 dur­ing the cam­paign, took care of busi­ness in their semi­fi­nal a week ago, elim­i­nat­ing the La Ci­tadelle Pa­tri­otes.

Fri­day’s fore­cast calls for foot­ball weather, or at least what fans should ex­pect over a week into Novem­ber. The pre­dicted high is 6 C, and there’s a very good chance of show­ers.

When the teams played in the Char­ity Bowl at Joe St. De­nis Field in mid- Oc­to­ber, hun­dreds of fans lined the side­lines at a high-en­ergy event, with the Pan­thers record­ing a 24-6 vic­tory.

“The Char­ity Bowl was not an easy game, it was a tough game,’’ Zap­pitelli said. “(The Fal­cons) were miss­ing some of their best play­ers, and they’ll be play­ing (Fri­day), so it’s go­ing to be an­other good, com­pet­i­tive game.”

The Pan­thers also played un­der the lights in early Oc­to­ber, win­ning the annual Rose Bowl game over La Ci­tadelle 30-5.

The Pan­thers have had a lot of stand­out per­form­ers this sea­son, in­clud­ing Jor­dan Mill­ward, a re­ceiver on of­fence and safety on de­fence, and run­ning back Nolan Shane.

And while the of­fence of­ten gets the loud­est cheers in this sport, it’s the St. Joseph’s de­fen­sive play too that has had the Pan­thers con­fi­dent all sea­son they can get the job done on the grid­iron.

“I’m very con­fi­dent in our de­fence, our de­fence is very strong,” Mill­ward said.

Brody Fair­bairn is the club’s vet­eran quar­ter­back, and Brae­den Le­vac has done some pow­er­ful run­ning out of the Pan­thers’ back­field.

The Fal­cons have Grade 10 student Ryan Stephen sat the quar­ter back po­si­tion, and coach McAl­lis­ter has been pleased with the play of a dual threat – the QB throws well and can pick up yardage with his run­ning abil­ity.

The Fal­cons also fea­ture run­ning back Nathan Van Put­ten – in his first year of play­ing com­pet­i­tive foot­ball – and big call car­rier Charles La­plante.

“He’s got speed, and great hands,” said McAl­lis­ter of La­plante, who’s also a threat as a re­ceiver.

But as for the avail­abil­ity of some of those Fal­cons in­jured ear­lier this sea­son? Don’t count on them be­ing ready for Fri­day.

Joe DiSte­fano, a mid­dle line­backer and of­fen­sive back, has been out much of the year, and that has re­ally hurt the Fal­cons.

“He’s my best de­fender,” McAl­lis­ter said mat­ter-of-factly.

Slot re­ceiver Jeremy La­tour also is likely un­avail­able for Fri­day’s show­down – but not be­ing at full strength is some­thing the Fal­cons are used to.

The team’s motto this in­jury­plagued cam­paign?

“Over­come, over­come, over­come ... and in a lot of ways they have,’’ the coach said.

But do the Fal­cons have a chance to beat a good St. Joseph’s team on its home field in the fi­nal?

“We al­ways have a shot,’’ McAl­lis­ter said. “Re­ally, they beat us with two big plays in the Char­ity Bowl ... St. Joe’s is al­ways good, so it’ll be re­ally tough.’’

It’s La Ci­tadelle which won last year’s SDG cham­pi­onship game, 3-0 over the Pan­thers.

The Char­ity Bowl on Fri­day Oc­to­ber 19, 2018 in Corn­wall, Ont. ALAN S. HALE/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREEHOLDER

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