Canes unable to lasso Colts at OFSAA Bowl
In their first appearance, Holy Cross rallies from 20-0 but falls 31-21
HAMILTON — The Holy Cross Hurricanes did themselves proud in their first OFSAA Bowl appearance even if the result didn’t go their way.
The Hurricanes rallied from a dreadful start and a 20-0 deficit to threaten Sault Ste. Marie’s Korah Colts before falling 31-21 at McMaster University’s Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton on Thursday afternoon. It was Korah’s second straight win in the Northern Bowl as they stretched their unbeaten record to two full seasons.
The Hurricanes had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter showing heart with a valiant comeback effort.
“The bounce back showed a ton of courage. There is a lot of heart on the team,” said Chris Paige, who coached the Hurricanes with Bond Bjorgan. “At halftime we told them, ‘Now we have proved we belong. We just have to show up now and execute. Just make it a high school football game, nothing bigger than that. We didn’t allow a touchdown In the second half so we have to be pretty happy with the effort given.”
Paige admits his team might have been caught up in the moment in the early minutes against a team that had been there before.
“It’s hard at that age to not look around and take it all in when we want them to just focus on football,” he said. “At the same time, they should take it all in. It’s rare for them to get this far. Although we didn’t win I know they will definitely never forget this.”
It’s a long way from two years ago when they played a Friday Night Lights game with 16 players.
“Three of those players were Dawson Overwijk, Trent Rowe and Burke Banilevic. For them to not quit on a team with only 16 players and to stick with it to get this team to this point shows why we got here. It was strong leadership and loyalty from our players that trickled down from the captains,” Paige said.
Things started about as bad as possible for Holy Cross. Michael Nicoletta returned the game’s opening kickoff 85 yards for a Korah touchdown.
Just when it looked like it might turn into a blowout, the Hurricanes, who had not yet crossed midfield on offence and were down 20-0, came to life.
Brett Bjorgan returned the Korah kickoff following their third major more than 80 yards for a touchdown.
Holy Cross recovered an onside kick and on the next series
Bjorgan found Gabe Lemire with a swing pass and roared down the sideline for a lengthy touchdown run.
In the fourth quarter, a nineyard TD pass to Bjorgan and Hayden McIlmoyle’s convert drew Holy Cross within 28-21.
A 10-yard field goal clinched the Colts the victory with 42 seconds left.
“That was a tough team and they definitely gave us a scare. They made a couple of big plays on special teams that surprised us,” Korah coach Tom Annett told the Sault Star’s Pete Ricci. “That’s the best Canadian team we’ve faced this year, without a doubt.
Holy Cross Hurricanes, from left, Brett Bjorgan, Dawson Overwijk and Hayden McIImoyle swarm Korah Colt Noah Grasley during the Northern Bowl .