Week 5: October 5-7
Daily Gleaner | Sports - As published on page B1 on October 9, 2006
Kats 'Bowl' over gridiron rival
Andrew Hickey rated it a seven out of 10.
"Andrew's more of an optimist than I am," said head coach Larry Wisniewski. "I would say maybe a five-and-a-half, maybe a six."
On the scoreboard, it was a 44.
The Fredericton High School Black Kats steamrollered the Leo Hayes St. Mary's Lions 44-0 in New Brunswick High School Football League action at FHS Field Saturday afternoon to win the sixth annual North-South Bowl.
And though football coaches watch the game through different eyes - Wisniewski was not terribly happy with his team's effort, while Lee Hoyt, his counterpart on the Leo Hayes sideline was - North-South Bowl VI was kind of like the football version of the The Battle of The Little Bighorn I.
Hickey scored two touchdowns on quarterback keepers from one yard out, scampered 18 yards for another in a brief appearance in the backfield, hit Dave Carr on a 62-yard pass and run play and zipped an eight-yard strike to Elliott Thompson for another as the Kats topped the Lions to improve their Western Conference leading record to a perfect 5-0 while the Lions remained winless in five attempts and were shut out for the fourth time.
In another west division game Saturday, Hampton Huskies improved to 4-2 with a 32-7 rout of Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders. Riverview High Royals improved to 5-0-1 atop the East Division with a 37-6 win over Tantramar High Titans of Sackville.
A 15-yard field goal by kicker Zack Cann on their first offensive series after defensive lineman Ryan Downe recovered a fumble on Leo Hayes' first play from scrimmage, and a 35-yard trot by running back Sean Hutchins late completed the scoring for the Kats, who led 3-0 after the first quarter, 24-0 at the half and 31-0 after three quarters.
"We came out flat," said Hickey, the Kats veteran quarterback, who completed seven of 14 passes for 150 yards.
"We started to pick up in the second quarter, but I think we could have played a lot better than we did. We've got to make some improvements for next week. I don't think we look for the points. We just want to play a good game and see where it goes."
That's the scale the Lions use in this rebuilding season too, says Hoyt. And while it's frustrating for a team which has lost two quarterbacks to injury, it's getting better. Running back Mitch Cormier, who rushed for 51 tough yards on 14 carries.
"I think if we come out like this in the first half against a different team we're in a different situation, and we score some points," said Cormier. "I think we've improved. It's kind of hard to tell when you're losing games, but there are a lot of positives too. It gets a little bit harder and harder week to week. But we've got a young team and I think there's a lot to look forward to next year."
"I think we did really good coming up against one of the best teams in the province," said quarterback Brendan Cornford, who was good on six of 23 pass attempts for 30 yards and was picked off twice. "Our offence did a lot better. We pulled a lot of things through. It's getting a lot easier week to week."
"I think he's improving dramatically," said Hoyt. "We threw him into a position a couple of weeks ago. I think he has a great arm. He's throwing the ball much better."
Hoyt said the Lions were much better than in the first meeting between these teams, a 42-0 victory by the Black Kats at Leo Hayes Field in Week 2.
"I know the scoreboard doesn't indicate it, but I think the kids played a great game," said Hoyt. "Anyone who was at both games certainly knows there was a difference, in the way that the kids are tackling and throwing and catching the ball. I see an improvement, and you've got to take that and use it and build off it. I think it was 3-0 after the first quarter, and the last game, it was 21-0 after the first. Not to take anything from FHS. They're certainly a very good football team, and Hickey runs that offence very, very well."
Lions were their own worst enemies by times too. The most dramatic illustration came in the fourth quarter. They were trailing 31-0 at the time when linebacker Nick Boudreau picked off a Hickey pass and returned it 27 yards to the FHS 39-yard line; the Lions' deepest penetration into FHS territory all afternoon.
A roughing the passer penalty negated the interception and there were two objectionable conduct penalties tacked on - 35 yards in penalties which set FHS up on the Lions' eight by the time the flags were collected. Hickey hit Thompson for the six-pointer on the next play,
"I think the rivalry had something to do with the penalties," said Hoyt. "Our guys have to realize you can't do that. And they know that. But as soon as you get caught up in it, and you're in front of all these fans and you want to impress people. You have to learn to take out you energy between the stripes."
Hoyt maintains he is "not discouraged.
"I'm not discouraged because I see things," he said. "Do I hate losing? I absolutely hate losing. But the thing with having a young team is, you've got to take the positives and build off them."
Wisniewski gave his defensive squad and specialty teams top marks.
"I thought our offence was the weakest suit," said Wisniewski 44 points later.
"Anybody watching the game and thinking about how you're developing would have concerns about it. I don't think our offensive line or our running backs had their best day. I think we're further behind than I would have liked. Every team is getting better and you want your team to get better at a certain pace that's going to put you in a good position," he said.
"We got to the top of the hill by going 4-0 and playing well in Saint John a week ago, but you've got to hold the hill and the boys did not do a particularly good job of doing that. Developmentally, on defence we're fine. On special teams we're good. Our offence still needs work."
NB Telegraph-Journal | Sports - As published on page B8 on October 9, 2006
Vikings make it five straight
High school Jordan Blizzard delivers another dominating performance
Quarterback Jordan Blizzard hooked up with John Phillips on a 75-yard pass and run play for a touchdown on the opening offensive play of the game and the Harbour View High Vikings dropped the Simonds High Seabees 31-0 in provincial high school football league 10-man division action Saturday at Shamrock Park.
Phillips scored again on a 40-yard run down the sideline in the second quarter to make it 14-0 at the half.
Blizzard scored on runs of 10 and 85 yards in the third quarter and added a field goal to make it 30-0 and the Vikings picked up a safety to close out the scoring in the fourth quarter.
Harbour View remains perfect with five wins in five starts while Simonds dropped to 3-2.
In other 10-man league action, the J.M.A. Armstrong Cougars were beaten 56-7 by the St. Stephen Spartans Saturday in Salisbury. The Cougars are in fourth place with a 2-3 record.
In the Western Conference 12-man division on Saturday, Fredericton High Black Kats blanked the Leo Hayes Lions 44-0 and the Hampton Huskies downed the Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders 32-7.
In Eastern Conference 12-man division action, the Riverview High Royals defeated the Tantramar Titans 37-6 in Sackville Saturday.
On Friday in 10-man division action, Rothesay High got its first win of the season with a 27-6 decision over the St. Malachy's Saints. Scoring for Rothesay were Mark MacLaughlin with two touchdown plunges and Mike Cote with a short run up the middle and a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown. Robert Grant scored on a two-point convert pass from Cote and Cote kicked a convert for the Redhawks. Steve Smith had a touchdown for St. Mac's as the result of an impressive 85-yard run.
In 12-man division action Friday, the Harrison Trimble Trojans ran all over the rival Moncton High Purple Knights - and moved one step closer to clinching a playoff berth - in a 44-0 victory in front of a huge Homecoming Game crowd at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.
In Western Conference action Friday, the Saint John High Greyhounds (4-1) defeated the Oromocto High Blues (1-4) 26-14.
Times & Transcript | Sports - As published on page D4 on October 9, 2006
Riverview High remains undefeated
Royals believe their best football still ahead of them
SACKVILLE - Riverview High Royals have taken over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference of the New Brunswick High School Football League's 12-man division, but they're not celebrating.
Royals defeated the Tantramar Titans 37-6 in Sackville Saturday afternoon, but they took the victory in stride.
Head coach Mark Lenehan said his players didn't say much about the win, but on the bus ride home most players quietly listed to their I-pods or talked about everything, except football.
"As coaches, we are definitely proud of them and all of the work they are putting in, but it's a funny group because they realize there's a lot of hard work ahead of them," Lenehan said.
"They know their best football is still ahead of them. They don't talk about standings or statistics or anything like that. Sometimes, you wonder if they are even enjoying themselves. As coaches, though, you have to give them credit for coming to the field and work hard every day."
Royals have a 4-0-1 record for nine points.
Titans are in second place with a 4-1 record for eight points, followed by the MacNaughton Highlanders (3-1-1) at seven points, Harrison Trimble Trojans (2-3) at four points, Moncton High Purple Knights (1-4) at two points and L'Odyssee Olympiens (0-5) with no points. Only the top four teams will make the playoffs.
A pair of league games are scheduled for Friday at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.
L'Odyssee and Moncton High meet at 4 p.m. while Riverview High and MacNaughton are scheduled to clash at 7 p.m.
Tantramar hosts Trimble on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Sackville.
Lenehan estimated two-thirds of the Royals starting lineup is comprised of Grade 11 players. He said the veterans constantly remind the younger players the season is far from over.
"We can't say our guys have played a great, great game yet," Lenehan said. "We're happy about their work ethic, but they all realize they have to keep improving.
"Let's face it. It's all about the playoffs and what you do at that time of year. There's not much difference between the first-place team and the fourth or fifth-place teams.
"The regular season is like practice for the playoffs and you have to get better each week so you are ready for the playoffs."
In the Western Conference on Saturday, Fredericton High Black Kats blanked the Leo Hayes Lions 44-0 and the Hampton Huskies downed the Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders 32-7.
Fredericton High leads the conference with a 5-0 record, followed by Hampton and Saint John High at 4-1 each, Oromocto and Kennebecasis Valley at 1-4 each and Leo Hayes at 0-5.
In the 10-man league, the J.M.A. Armstrong Cougars were beaten 56-7 by the St. Stephen Spartans Saturday in Salisbury. The Cougars are in fourth place with a 2-3 record.
Cougars host the Simonds Seabees (3-2) this Saturday at 1 p.m. in a battle for third place.
Daily Gleaner | Sports - As published on page B1 on October 7, 2006
Blues better but not good enough
A vast improvement was good, but not good enough for the Oromocto High School Art World Blues last night.
The Blues shaved 30 points off the difference between themselves and the Saint John High School Greyhounds yesterday at OHS Field, but still lost 26-14 in front of about 200 fans.
It was a much better showing than the 48-6 pasting the Greyhounds handed Oromocto just two weeks ago.
"We felt that first game was not anything like our team," said veteran Zach Smith of the Blues. "We talked a lot before the game, all week really, about playing hard and not letting that happen again."
And indeed they didn't, and yet they still lost.
"It's disappointing for sure," Smith said. "We could have been better today than we were. We wanted to come out strong and really be in the game but we made some mistakes in the second quarter that cost us the game.
"We picked it up in the second half but Saint John's a good team and it was too far to come all the way back."
Mistakes? Like back-to-back offside flags with the 'Hounds driving in the Oromocto end, or the fumble after a reception as the receiver stretched for a couple more feet or the interception that allowed Saint John to open the scoring.
"They were mistakes at the wrong time, and Saint John hurt us every time," Smith said. "But they were mistakes made because we were too aggressive and not as focused as we should have been. It wasn't a lack of effort, we just wanted to get a good start so badly we tried to do too much too quickly."
And that's how they lost it. After a scoreless first quarter and 52 seconds into the second, working on first down from his own 39-yard line, OHS quarterback Jordan Heather threw into one on one coverage but without much zip.
The result was Saint John defensive back Bruce MacMillan running in front of the intended receiver for the pick and returning it 45 yards for a touchdown. The convert was blocked.
OHS got the ball back and good field position after a strong return by Pete Mitchell, but a play later MacMillan got his second interception in three defensive plays. That put the ball in the hands of the 'Hounds on their own 38.
The visitors promptly launched a 10-play drive cumulating with quarterback Nick Bonner breaking a 36-yard scoring run as Saint John went for it on a third and 10 play.
"That was key for us," Bonner said. "We wanted to get the lead on them because we knew they would be better than the game in Saint John. We didn't want to give them any momentum and let that motivation build.
"We got the first touchdown and then turned around and got another and in the process really controlled the ball for a long period of time."
As well as their defence played at times in the first half the Oromocto offence was almost non-existent. Unable to generate yardage, the Blues found themselves facing Saint John inside the home 30 as time ran down.
A six-play drive ended with Bonner following his blocking up the gut for another major with a minute to go until the half. This time Silas Rogers converted for a 19-0 lead at the intermission.
The third quarter was scoreless as the teams settled into a duel of defences, but early in the fourth the Blues turned the tables on their visitors. Seth Gillian picked off a Bonner pass to give his team the ball at midfield.
Finally the Blues were able to generate some ball movement as they went to the air. Six plays later Heather hit Chris Hillier in the end zone for a nine-yard scoring strike. The two-point convert was no good but the Blues were back in the game.
Back in for a few seconds anyway.
On the kickoff, Joel Seale exploded for an 80-yard return for a touchdown. Rogers nailed a convert and all the 'Hounds had lost had been recovered plus one more point.
"That was a big play," Bonner agreed. "If we don't do something positive to answer their score then maybe we get back on our heels and they keep coming. You don't expect a kick return like that but it really did the job and let us get back in control."
The play didn't break the Blues backs. They kept throwing the ball and moved it very well, but the Seale score certainly contained any major momentum shift.
"I'm proud of the fact that it just made us fight back harder," Smith said. "Some teams might have quit, we didn't. That's something we can take with us the rest of the season."
That continued resistance to the seemingly inevitable resulted in one more touchdown as Heather tossed a 30-yard scoring pass to Mitchell and then threw for the two-point convert to account for the final score.
The Blues slip to 1-4 while Saint John High improves to 4-1. The 4-0 FHS Black Kats host the 0-4 Leo Hayes St. Mary's Lions today at 1 p.m. at FHS Field.
Times & Transcript | Sports - As published on page C1 on October 7, 2006
Trojans bring victory home
Trimble inches closer to securing high school football playoff spot
Year after year, the Harrison Trimble Trojans save their best game for the Moncton High Purple Knights on Homecoming Weekend.
They did it again last night.
Trojans ran all over the Purple Knights - and moved one step closer to clinching a playoff berth - in a 44-0 victory in front of a huge Homecoming Game crowd at Rocky Stone Memorial Field in New Brunswick High School Football League 12-man division action.
Harrison Trimble Grade 12 quarterback Nicholas Kukkonen was playing in his fourth and final Homecoming Game. He didn't lose one.
"We've done well in the past and every year we have the same mindset coming into the Homecoming Game. It's the biggest game of the year and everyone knows that," said Kukkonen, who threw for one touchdown and ran for another in the win.
"Where this is my last year, we gave the guys a pep talk on the bus and it's always special to win Homecoming over them no matter how old you are, but with me graduating this year, this is the topping on the cake."
Moncton High last won the Homecoming Game in 2002.
This one was all Trimble.
The backfield duo of Dave Arsenault and Jordan Kenny rushed for well over 200 yards as the Trojans took the lead early and never looked back.
Harrison Trimble, which started the season 0-3, improved its record to 2-3 with the win and moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Only the top four teams in the six-team conference make the playoffs.
Moncton High dropped to fifth place at 1-4 and now needs to win its final two games just to keep its playoff hopes alive.
"All week coach would say after practice that this wasn't only the Homecoming Game, but that this was the game that would get us into the playoffs," said Kukkonen, a receiver-turned-quarterback in his senior season.
"I think that got us fired up more than usual and we definitely took that into consideration."
Trojans were easily able to move down field against the Purple Knights defence all night long. Their ground attack was led by Arsenault, who scored two touchdowns on five and 50-yard runs, and Kenny, who added another on a 70-yard scamper.
Kukkonen threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Purcey and also scored himself on a 32-yard run.
The other Harrison Trimble major came on a 10-yard run by Matt Seely. Robbie Dobson kicked five converts in the victory.
"It was a good solid team effort," Trojans head coach Perry Kukkonen said.
"On defence, we got some key turnovers. Rob Arsenault had two fumble recoveries and Robbie Dobson had a nice pick. They bent, but didn't break."
Moncton High, which trailed 22-0 at halftime, struggled offensively and couldn't maintain any drives. Tailback Justin Lafrance broke free for a couple nice runs, but wasn't able to find the end zone.
Tantramar Titans (4-0) host the Riverview High Royals (3-0-1) today at 1 p.m. in Sackville.
In Western Conference action yesterday, the Saint John High Greyhounds (4-1) defeated the Oromocto High Blues (1-4) 26-14.
In 10-man division action today, the J.M.A. Armstrong Cougars take on the St. Stephen High Spartans at 1 p.m. in Salisbury. The game was originally scheduled for St. Stephen, but has been moved to Salisbury.
Daily Gleaner | Sports - As published on page B4 on October 6, 2006
Different expectations for local football teams
Fans of the offensive side of the game of high school football could be in for a treat this weekend.
Or they might not, depending on which team they pull for.
All three of the local high school teams will be in action at home, or not all that far from home, and for two of those teams it might be a long day.
Today at 4 p.m. at OHS Field, the Oromocto High School Art World Blues will host the Saint John High School Greyhounds. That's a rematch of a game the Greyhounds won 48-6 two weeks ago in the port city.
That loss started OHS on a two-game losing streak. They lost 20-8 last week at home to Hampton, and now are 1-3 on the season. That leaves them in a tie with Kennebecasis Valley High School for the fourth and final playoff spot in the western conference.
Tomorrow at 1 p.m. the Leo Hayes St. Mary's Lions will cross the river for a rematch with the Fredericton High School Black Kats although some would call it more a mismatch.
Two weeks ago the Black Kats thumped the Lions 42-0 on the Leos home turf in a game that saw FHS score four touchdowns before the first quarter had ticked off the clock.
Going into tomorrow's North-South Bowl the Black Kats rule the division with a 4-0 record having outscored opponents 124-20. The Lions continue to hold down the basement with a 0-4 mark having scored just six points with 128 against.
On the surface, Oromocto seems to have it a little bit easier in their task today. Saint John High is tied with Hampton for second spot in the west, both at 3-1. The lone loss for both those teams came at the hands of the Black Kats, including a 21-0 setback for the 'Hounds last week when they hosted FHS in a showdown for first place.
And while the math may indicate an easier day for the Blues than their counterparts at Leo Hayes their memories may not agree. The loss in Saint John was both a numerical and physical beating as half a dozen OHS players had to exit the game with injuries at the hands of the big, hard-hitting Greyhounds.
"They're very physical," said OHS linebacker Tim Degaust. "They really put it to us in that game. But it's not that we don't like that style, we have some good size on our side, and we have guys who don't mind the physical part of the game."
So what happened two weeks ago?
"I think a lot of our guys weren't as ready as they should have been," Degaust said. "This time we know what we're up against and we've been gearing up for the game all week. If there's one thing we will be this time we weren't (two weeks ago) it will be in the preparation."
The race for the final playoff spot in the west promises to be a tough one for OHS as they have today's game with Saint John and another against Fredericton High in their remaining three games. The third game is at Leo Hayes and that's a game that may well decide who goes to the playoffs and who doesn't.
"We know all about the teams we have left to play," Degaust said. "We're fine with that, there's nothing we can do about the schedule. We have a lot of first year guys, but we have a lot of talent - most of it is still potential though.
"We still have a good attitude though. In the room it's upbeat and at practice the guys are still working hard. I like what we have here and I'm looking forward to having a strong finish to the season."
In Eastern Conference action today, Moncton High Purple Knights meet the Harrison Trimble Trojans. Both teams have 1-3 records.
The key game goes tomorrow when the 4-0 Tantramar Titans host the 3-0-1 Riverview Royals. Saturday's other game sees KV, 1-3, travelling to Hampton to face the 3-1 Huskies.
NB Telegraph-Journal | Sports - As published on page B9 on October 6, 2006
Vikings enjoying view from top
High school Harbour View puts its undefeated streak on the line Saturday against Simonds
SAINT JOHN - The Harbour View Vikings will be looking to keep their undefeated streak alive when they host the Simonds Seabees Saturday at 1 p.m. at Shamrock Field.
But regardless of the result, the Vikes' 4-0 record has caused the rest of the New Brunswick High School Football League's 10-man division to take notice.
"This is the best group of athletes I've ever had," Harbour View head coach and defensive coordinator Mike Murphy said. "It's resulted in us having to make some tough coaching decisions.
"We have some good football players who are not starting. That has never happened before."
The Vikes received a boost from Down Under with the arrival of Australian exchange student Jeremy Monaghan, whose rugby and Aussie rules football experience provided a good foundation for football. The Harbour View tailback has played a key role in the team's success.
"Before I came here, the one thing I wanted to do was play football," said Monaghan, who'll return home at Christmas. "It's awesome fun, I'm having the time of my life."
Murphy said he was scouting Monaghan long before pulling out the pigskin.
"We talked to him last spring during rugby season and he told us then that he wanted to play football," the coach said. "He's just a good athlete. You show him something once and he picks it up.
"He's learned how to run with the football and drive. He's the toughest kid on the team, pound for pound.
"He can go inside following a block, but he can also go to the outside. He's also got great hands, so we can throw him the ball, too."
The man in charge of that is quarterback Jordan Blizzard. Aside from his passing prowess, the premier pivot is capable of strong runs during which he often hits like a running back.
"He's the most valuable player on our team," Murphy said. "I would think he would have to be considered for the league MVP. I'm not saying he is right now, but it could turn out that way."
Harbour View's high-octane offence, which averages 42 points per game, is also fueled by fullback John McNabb and tailback Mike Curwin.
"We can pound it up the middle or run it outside," Murphy said. "The thing we're still working on is our passing game.
"We have speed and we have hands," continued the coach. "We also have some good coaching from the offensive coordinator (Eric Sabean) and some experience."
On the other side of the ball, key players include linebacker Aaron Wilson and secondary standouts Steve Doucette and Nick Vautour. The Vikes have also benefited from three newcomers - defensive ends Phil Fournier and Josh MacDonald, along with defensive tackle Ryan Woodman.
"Just before school started, I thought we would be in the middle of the pack," Murphy said. "I knew after our first game, we would be contenders.
It's a year where everything has come together."
Although the Seabees have a solid 3-1 record, head coach Pat Parent believes his squad has underachieved. The offence is led by tailback Josh Davis, fullback/tailback Jared Ham, along with receiver Marshall Vail. The defence depends on middle linebacker Alex LeBlanc, the team leader in tackles, and outside linebacker John Oliver.
"We have a pool of great players," Parent said. "We just need to get them all on the same page at the same time.
"We definitely have not played to our potential and the players know that. We have a lot of good athletes, but we haven't come close to peaking yet."
Meanwhile, there are two other 10-man games on the weekend gridiron docket. The Rothesay Redhawks visit the St. Malachy's Saints tonight at 7 p.m. at Shamrock, while the St. Stephen Spartans host the J.M.A. Cougars Saturday at 1 p.m.
Tonight's 12-man action has the Moncton Purple Knights visiting the Harrison Trimble Trojans at 7 p.m., while the Oromocto Blues welcome the Saint John Greyhounds at 4 p.m. On Saturday, the Riverview Royals visit the Tantramar Titans, the Hampton Huskies host the Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders and the Fredericton Black Kats welcome the Leo Hayes Lions. All three games begin at 1 p.m.
Times & Transcript | Sports - As published on page D4 on October 6, 2006
Highlanders cruise past Olympiens
Second-place MacNaughton improves to 3-1-1 with 66-0 victory; Homecoming Game goes tonight
Quarterback Eric Daigle threw a pair of touchdown passes and tailback Nathan Cormier ran for two majors as the MacNaughton Highlanders blanked the L'Odyssée Olympiens 66-0 in a New Brunswick High School Football League 12-man division game at Rocky Stone Memorial Field last night.
Highlanders, who were coming off their first loss of the season last week, improved their second-place Eastern Conference record to 3-1-1. The last place Olympiens dropped to 0-5.
"We needed to get back on track because it's very tight at the top," said MacNaughton head coach Ed Wasson, whose team lost 10-3 to the first-place Tantramar Titans last week.
"I also liked that the game stayed very sportsmanlike on both sides."
Daigle tossed a 20-yard pass to Colin MacKenzie and a 40-yard pass to Nick Kaminsky for Highlander touchdowns. Daigle also scored on a two-yard quarterback keep.
Cormier led MacNaughton's ground attack, scoring on seven and eight-yard runs. He also kicked a 35-yard field goal.
K.J. MacNeil, on a one-yard run, Jordan McQuinn, on a 15-yard run, and Joel Carver, on a 35-yard interception return, had the other Highlander touchdowns. MacNaughton's defence also recorded a safety.
L'Odyssée trailed 33-0 at halftime.
Harrison Trimble Trojans (1-3) and Moncton High Purple Knights (1-3) meet in the annual Homecoming Game tonight at 7 p.m. at Rocky Stone.
Tantramar (4-0) hosts the Riverview High Royals (3-0-1) tomorrow at 1 p.m. in Sackville.
In 10-man division action tomorrow, the J.M.A. Armstrong Cougars (2-2) visit the St. Stephen High Spartans (3-1) at 1 p.m.
Times & Transcript | Sports - As published on page D3 on October 5, 2006
Homecoming Game has meaning
Moncton High and Harrison Trimble clash in annual football classic tomorrow; fourth place on the line
The biggest game on the New Brunswick High School Football League 12-man division schedule has extra special meaning this year.
Harrison Trimble Trojans and Moncton High Purple Knights meet in the annual Homecoming Game tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Rocky Stone Memorial Field. That alone is enough to get the two rivals fired up.
But the winner of this season's Homecoming Game will move into sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference and tighten a grip on the fourth and final playoff berth.
Harrison Trimble (1-3) and Moncton High (1-3) are tied for fourth in the six-team Eastern Conference. Only the top four teams make the playoffs.
"We can't emphasize that enough to our players. They're going to have to play with everything they've got Friday night to win this football game," Trojans head coach Perry Kukkonen said yesterday during a break in practice.
"I know Moncton High has had this game marked on their calendar for a long time and it should be an intense battle and a real treat for the fans."
Week 5 action begins tonight when the MacNaughton Highlanders (2-1-1) meet the L'Odyssée Olympiens (0-4) at 7 p.m. at Rocky Stone.
On Saturday, the Tantramar Titans (4-0) host the Riverview High Royals (3-0-1) at 1 p.m. in Sackville.
Tantramar sits in first place in the Eastern Conference, followed by Riverview High in second and MacNaughton in third. Harrison Trimble and Moncton High are tied for fourth and L'Odyssée occupies the basement.
Trojans started the season slow - losing their first three games - but came up with their first win of the season with a 48-23 victory over L'Odyssée last week.
"That really did us some good, it got some guys really pumped up and was a big confidence boost. We came out and have been practising hard all week," said Harrison Trimble Grade 12 offensive lineman Tyler Gillcash, a fourth-year veteran.
"We noticed it in practice this week. With that win, people have started to step it up another notch and I hope our team comes out pumped up and ready to play right from the opening whistle."
Moncton High has scored a conference low 28 points this season, but Kukkonen said the Trojans remain wary of the Purple Knights.
"They have some great athletes on their team. Ryan Wareham is a great quarterback and they were only down 7-1 at the half against Tantramar," Kukkonen said.
"If they put together four quarters they way they are capable of, we'll be in a for a dogfight and it will be up to us to execute on offence and make sure on defence we tackle soundly."
At Moncton High, Purple Knights head coach John Allanach sees tomorrow's game as a must-win situation for his team.
"Our players are aware of it, we've talked about it since last November," Allanach said.
"We knew in November that it would probably come down to this and we set our team goals for this year to beat Trimble and make the playoffs and it can happen if the kids come and execute."
Moncton High is coming off two straight losses after its lone win in Week 2 over L'Odyssée and Allanach expects another major challenge in the Trojans tomorrow.
"I think they've got a really good football team and I think they've underachieved so far," he said.
"We have to find a way to get past their front seven and contain their speed on offence."
Meanwhile, the J.M.A. Armstrong Cougars (2-2) visit the St. Stephen High Spartans (3-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. in 10-man division play.