Griffins, Saints are high school foot­ball cham­pi­ons

First time in decades for Thomas A. Ste­wart se­nior, St. Peter’s ju­nior teams

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - MIKE DAVIES Ex­am­iner Sports Di­rec­tor [email protected] pe­ter­bor­ough­daily.com

His­tory was made at the Kawartha high school foot­ball cham­pi­onships on Satur­day.

The Thomas A. Ste­wart Griffins won their first Kawartha se­nior ti­tle in 23 years and the St. Peter’s Saints ju­niors won their first in 43 years.

The Griffins edged the Crest­wood Mus­tangs 15-10 and the Saints de­feated the Holy Cross Hur­ri­canes 23-10 in the first-ever foot­ball fi­nal be­tween the city’s two Catholic schools.

All four teams ad­vance to COSSA. On Wed­nes­day, the Griffins will host the Quinte AAA rep while Crest­wood trav­els to Belleville for the AA fi­nal. Times are to be con­firmed.

On Thurs­day, the Saints host a Quinte team for the AAA ti­tle at 1 p.m. while Holy Cross heads to Belleville for the AA fi­nal.

The Griffins were 6-0 in reg­u­lar sea­son play and beat Crest­wood 37-7 in the open­ing week. The fi­nal was much closer.

“It’s the first time this year some­one has played tough against us and we re­sponded by play­ing tough right back,” said Griffins coach Jeff Chal­lice. “It was a re­ally good game and we’re re­ally happy with the out­come. It’s the first time in a long time TASSS has won se­nior Kawartha.”

Griffins co-coach Vik Kulla pre­sented Crest­wood coach Shane Old­field with the game ball af­ter the game. Old­field is re­tir­ing af­ter more than three decades coach­ing high school foot­ball. Kulla noted he’s won many cham­pi­onships and given count­less hours to help young stu­dents.

Old­field praised his play­ers af­ter the game and re­minded them they still have an op­por­tu­nity to win their fi­nal game.

“We re­ally be­lieved we could do it,” said Old­field. “I’m re­ally proud of the guys for their ac­com­plished be­cause we got whupped the first time we played TASSS. We weren’t ready to play at all. This time the guys re­ally stepped up and showed they could com­pete.”

The Saints con­tin­ued their un­beaten sea­son, their most suc­cess­ful since res­ur­rect­ing their foot­ball pro­gram 18 years ago.

“I did a lit­tle dig­ging and it’s the first time in 43 years and our first chance to go to COSSA in a long, long time,” said Saints coach Chris­tian Ves­naver. “I’m happy for our guys and the school. It puts some light on them. It’s good to build some char­ac­ter. They’re a close, tightknit group.”

It had been seven or eight years since Holy Cross had been in a fi­nal, said coach Bond Bjor­gan.

“I think it’s healthy for Pe­ter­bor­ough foot­ball and Pe­ter­bor­ough high school foot­ball to have some teams who haven’t been here in a while,” said Bjor­gan. “Tra­di­tion­ally, you might see Crest­wood, TASSS or Adam Scott in these games. For two new teams to get that op­por­tu­nity is good for the league.”

Holy Cross drew within 15-10 early in the fourth quar­ter when Hay­den McIl­moyle caught a 15-yard touch­down pass from QB Brett Bjor­gan. McIl­moyle also kicked the con­vert and a firsthalf field goal.

The Saints re­sponded on their next pos­ses­sion when Car­son Har­vey scored on a lengthy quar­ter­back scram­ble. Jamie Hub­ble scored a two-point con­vert.

The Saints opened the scor­ing with a rouge and trail­ing 3-1 late in the first half Hub­ble capped a long drive with a short TD run. Har­vey also scored on a 30-yard sweep. Spencer Watchorn ran the ball in for a two-point con­vert.

In the se­nior game, a bad snap over QB Kurt Can­tello’s head on a third down led to TASSS get­ting the ball on the Mus­tangs’ 13. Jake Za­jac took QB Kal Sager’s pitch and ran it in for a 7-0 lead, af­ter Za­jac’s con­vert, 4:40 into the game. The only other point in the half was a Za­jac rouge.

Af­ter a lengthy drive Crest­wood fum­bled the ball on the Griffins’ four-yard line re­cov­ered by Noah Thom­son. TASSS missed a sim­i­lar op­por­tu­nity when Mike Guirestante in­ter­cepted a Sager pass on the Mus­tangs’ one-yard line.

With 3:11 left in the third quar­ter TASSS failed on third-an­done run to turn the ball over on their 15. It led to a Zach Au­coin field goal.

Crest­wood fum­bled on their 27 early in the fourth quar­ter and the Griffins took ad­van­tage on Kyle Mil­burn’s 24-yard TD run to go up 15-3 af­ter Za­jac’s con­vert. The Mus­tangs closed within five points with 2:28 left when Can­tello con­nected with Owen Pe­tersen on a nine-yard toss to cap a lengthy drive.

Trevor Davis con­verted. Crest­wood re­cov­ered a sub­se­quent on-side kick but the Griffins’ de­fence held.

CLIF­FORD SKARSTEDT EX­AM­INER

St. Peter's Saints' Jamie Hub­ble finds a hole against Holy Cross Hur­ri­canes dur­ing Kawartha High School Ju­nior Foot­ball fi­nal ac­tion Satur­day at Thomas A. Ste­wart Se­condary School. The Saints won the ju­nior fi­nal.

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