The Glengarry News
Bantam Gaels bow out in football semifinal
BY SEAN BRAY Sports Editor At times heated and looking like it might get out of control, Sunday’s bantam football semifinal contest in Cornwall, between the Glengarry Gaels and the Cornwall # 1 Wildcats settled down into a barnburner, where the Gaels simply ran out of time in their comeback bid, ultimately bowing out with a 37-31 loss.
Trailing 25-7 late in the opening half, the Gaels looked to be unravelling, taking penalties whilst trying to contain infighting.
The squad managed to regroup, though, as a reverse play to Riley Leroux saw the Gael sprung loose down the right boundary for a 42-yard touchdown scamper. It was something positive to build upon during halftime.
The Glengarry side came out a new squad for the second half, despite surrendering an early TD that widened the deficit. Cue the comeback. Quarterback Aaron Kerentjes got his offence moving, rifling the ball to Simon Korteweg for a 25-yard gain. The drive continued with several nice runs, including efforts by Korteweg, Austin Main, and Alex Este to get the ball into the red zone.
Then Keurentjes called his own number for a first down, before Main carried the ball to the six-yard line, where he was pushed out of bounds by a Cornwall defender.
The series ended deep in the Wildcats territory, as the Gaels turned the ball over on downs.
Steffon Lee was part of a defensive stand that saw the Cornwall QB sacked for a loss to end the third quarter.
Two plays into the final period, the Wildcats were forced to punt. It was a short one, and with a no-yards penalty against the ’Cats, the Glengarry side was in business at Cornwall’s 21-yard line.
Keurentjes carried the ball to the 8, and two plays later, Korteweg ran the ball to the right corner where he was thrown into the pilon, resulting in a touchdown.
Cornwall, back on offence, took time off the clock as the Wildcats drove the length of the field to reply with a major, making the score 37-19.
Glengarry responded in short order. Keurentjes got the ball across the midfield stripe with a pass to Leroux. Then it was a pass to Main for another first down.
Main carried the ball to the 20, as the twominute warning was given.
Two Cornwall penalties advanced the ball to the 2, where Josh Cameron pushed it across on a plunge up the middle.
The ensuring Gaels kickoff was mishandled by the Cornwall receiver, recovered by Keurentjes at the Wildcats 45-yard line. Glengarry was on the move again. Keurentjes passed to Leroux, then to Este, who scampered 40 yards for the touchdown.
That made the score 37-31 with 34 seconds left. Cornwall successfully pulled in the kickoff reception, and then, after a couple of kneeldowns, the game was over.
The #1 Wildcats move on to the championship game to face Cornwall #2, which beat the #3 Wildcats 32-19 in the other semi.
For the Gaels, the spring season comes to an end.
The squad entered the June 19 contest at Joe St. Denis Field with a 2-4 record, having scored just 60 points on the season. By contrast, Cornwall #1 had double the points for and half the points against, while sporting a 4-2 record.
Este opened the scoring early for the Gaels with a TD, and things looked bright, until the Wildcats scored the next 25 points.
After the game, coach Jeff Dorn took to the club’s Facebook page, telling the group, “Bantams, that was one great season. It might be over, but there will be more seasons to come. Thanks for being a great team with a great attitude. It was a pleasure to be your coach, and I look forward to coaching many of you in future years.”
A number of the players also shared their decidedly positive experiences.
Korteweg told “Everyone played their hearts out. All of us came together, especially in the fourth quarter. We played like a unit, which hasn't happened very much this season. But in the most important game, we played our best. I couldn't be more proud of all of the boys (and girls). It was a fantastic season; our record doesn't show how close all of the games were.”
Will Fraas said, “Today I saw a breakout of a young bantam Gaels football team. I couldn't be more happy with everyone who played their heart out today ... I had a blast playing with this awesome football team. Unfortunately this was my last season with Gaels spring league. I would like to thank all the coaches and staff for the great experience, and I would like to thank all of the players. I can't wait to watch what this young team can do next year. Thank you all for a great season.”
Cameron told his team, “So today's game didn't go the way we wanted, but I saw a team that came together and would have won the game if we could have started sooner. I would personally like to thank all the coaches and players who made this year by far my favourite, and I could not have picked a better group of people to share it with.”
Another graduating member of the program, Cameron added, “I am for sure gonna come out and help coach next year, because I know the talent that we have to work with, and I really wanna see you guys win a championship.”
Este, reflecting on the spring campaign, said, “I think that our team had a good season. Even when we lost, we always worked as hard as we could, and we could've beaten any one of those teams. I'm honoured to have played with such great coaches and players.”
Many of the bantam players will suit up in the fall for the high school team that the Gaels field as part of a join program between GDHS and VCI. Some may also opt to play for the NCAFA league teams, put together by Cornwall Minor Football.