Week 1: September 7-8
Lions do the groundwork to beat Blues in grid opener
By MIKE POWER
Published Monday September 10th, 2007
Appeared on page B1
The Leo Hayes Lions found the best way to defend against Oromocto High School Beaver Brokerage Blues high-powered aerial attack Saturday.
Don't let them on the field.
The Lions kept the Air Jordan offence of the Beaver Brokerage Blues under wraps most of the day by controlling the ball and chewing up the clock for much of day as the Lions ruined the Blues' New Brunswick High School Football League home opener with a 17-13 come from behind win at OHS Field in the 2007 season opener for both teams.
For the Lions, it was their first win in 10 league games, dating back to a victory over the Saint John High Greyhounds on Oct. 5, 2005.
Saturday, on a steaming hot field under a midday sun, the Blues came out of the gate fast scoring first to go up 6-0 after less than three minutes of play.
The Lions went three and out allowing the Blues to launch a drive from mid-field. The home side drove to the Lions' five, helped immensely by a pair of Leo Hayes penalties, from their quarterback Jordan Heather ran a dog leg to the right to score the major. The point after was blocked.
"It wasn't the best start," said Lions running back Mitch Cormier. "We have a lot of new guys and a bunch more who are in their second year. We were pretty pumped up for the game and I guess you would have to say a little too eager based on (the OHS drive and the penalties)."
At that point it looked very much like this game might be about to unwind much like many of the last nine for the Lions, a downward spiral to another loss.
But that all changed very quickly.
The Leos started to run the ball, and run it some more, and then run it even more. They handed the ball to running backs Tommy Broad and Cormier over and over, and when one of them couldn't go Evan Underhill got the ball. "We came out looking to throw actually," Cormier said. "But with the wind and the way the first couple of series' went we found that we could have a lot of success running the ball. So we just kept pounding it in there."
When it was over, Cormier would have 22 carries and 154 yards to show for the day, Broad 87 yards on 20 carries and Underhill 18 yards on five attempts. Quarterback Brendon Cornford carried five times for 20 yards and scored one touchdown. All tolled, the Lions rumbled for 279 yards on the ground on 52 carries.
Cornford threw the ball just enough to keep the Blues honest, going 1-for-8 for 10 yards while being picked off twice.
But the passing game was just a diversion to the ground attack. It was an offence that made for long time consuming drives, leaving Heather and company on the bench where they could do no harm.
Not that Heather was a non factor; he threw for 172 yards and one touchdown but was only 11 for 25 in completions. But he was 0-for-6 in the fourth quarter and threw the interception.
"I though our conditioning played a big part in that fourth quarter," said Lions coach Lee Hoyt. "We were able to run the ball on offence and really keep the pressure on Heather on defence. Oromocto's aerial attack is always a concern but in that fourth quarter we were able to make it a non-factor."
Unlike Lions quarterback Cornford, Heather had very little ground support to fall back on. The Blues carried on the run just 14 times for 46 yards including one touchdown.
On top of all this the Lions were more opportunistic, making the best of what was handed to them, and that was never more the case then their first touchdown. Frankie Daderno picked up a short punt by the Blues and sprinted through the coverage almost untouched for a 30 yard major. Scott McIsaac nailed the point after to give the Lions the lead.
They caught Heather in his own zone for a safety with 3:53 left in the first half to take a 9-6 lead at the break.
The best of the Blues showed on their first drive of the second half as Heather marched his aerial circus down field, capping off the drive with a 20 yard pass to his brother Nathan who tip-toed along the line, or inside the line depending on yourfor the score. With the point after the Blues led 13-9.
But things went downhill from there.
With 8:41 left in the game Cornford went for a pass from the OHS four yard line, found nobody open and ran it in himself. McIsaac converted for the lead, one they would not give up.
"Our defence was really put to the test today," said OHS coach Rob Wilson. "They are young, and they were really pressured today. The truth is, they were on the field in this heat far too much today. They wore down, and who wouldn't?
"On offence we weren't crisp, our offence spent long periods sitting on the bench so when they did come on they weren't in the flow of the game. We had our chances but we couldn't make the best of them."
In other games to complete the opening weekend of action Saturday, the Fredericton High School Black Kats posted a 13-0 road win over the Hampton Huskies; while the defending league champion Bernice McNaughton Highlanders blanked the Tantramar Titans 20-0.
Friday, Saint John High Greyhounds beat Kennebecasis Crusaders 20-12, Riverview Royals beat Moncton High Purple Knights 46-0, and Harrison Trimble Trojans beat O'dyssee of Moncton 27-0.
In Hampton, Neils Thakker rushed for 96 yards and scored a touchdown and Zack Cann booted two field goals and a convert to account for the Kats' scoring. The Kats' defence came up big, creating five turnovers. They recovered three fumbles and Mike Sharkey and Rory Keays both picked off passes to snuff the Huskies.
Defending football champions win opener
Times & Transcript Staff
Published Monday September 10th, 2007
Appeared on page C1
SACKVILLE - The defending New Brunswick High School Football League 12-man division champion Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders opened the 2007 season on a winning note on Saturday.
Dylan Hollohan ran for a pair of touchdowns leading MacNaughton to a 20-0 win over the Tantramar Titans here.
Eric Rioux scored the other Highlanders touchdown. All three majors came on rushing plays.
MacNaughton led 6-0 at the half.
Mitch Caissie and Cameron Wade each recorded interceptions in the victory.
In other 12-man division weekend games, the Fredericton High Black Kats blanked the Hampton High Huskies 13-0, Leo Hayes Lions defeated the Oromocto High Blues 17-13 and the Saint John High Greyhounds downed the Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders 20-12.
League play in the Eastern Conference resumes Thursday when the L'Odyssée Olympiens (0-1) meet the Moncton High Purple Knights (0-1) at 7 p.m. at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.
Riverview High Royals (1-0) host the Mathieu-Martin Matadors (0-0) on Friday at 4 p.m. At 7 p.m., the Harrison Trimble Trojans (1-0) entertain Tantramar (0-1) at Rocky Stone.
In the 10-man league, J.M.A. Armstrong opened the regular season with a 29-26 loss to the Rothesay Red Hawks Saturday afternoon in Salisbury and Cougars coach Jason Chapman was wondering where his team's spark went.
"I know it was the first game of the season and there are a lot of new players so nerves came into play,'' Chapman said.
"Still, there was no fire. Once our guys got their minds into the game and showed some spirit, they played very well. It was a game we could have won.''
Cory Arsenault had a pair of touchdowns for the Cougars. Justin Hicks and Alex Killam also had majors while Brandon Doughtwright punted a pair of singles.
The game was tied 2-2 at halftime.
Cougars (0-1) visit the St. Stephen Spartans (1-0) on Saturday afternoon.
|Riverview Royals’ Matt Turple evades Moncton Purple Knights’ Kyle Crabb during high school football action at Rocky Stone Memorial Field yesterday afternoon|
Royals, Trojans win openers
High school football begins with a pair of lopsided shutouts
by Sean Hatchard
Times & Transcript Staff
Published Saturday September 8th, 2007
Appeared on page C1
Riverview High Royals first-year head coach Guy Messervier didn't know what to expect from his team when it took to the field for its New Brunswick High School Football League season opener yesterday.
The Royals managed to impress their new boss.
Riverview High used an explosive offence and stingy defence to blast the Moncton High Purple Knights 46-0 in the opening game of the league's 12-man division season at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.
Running back Matt Turple rushed for three touchdowns to lead the Royals to the victory.
"The offence is the one that usually takes a little while to get going, but it came together a lot quicker than we thought it would," said Messervier, who made the jump to head coach after serving as offensive co-ordinator.
"We showed that our offence is already balanced. We proved we can throw the ball a bit and run at the same time, so I thought it was a good showing."
Later last night, the Harrison Trimble Trojans blanked the L'Odyssée Olympiens 27-0.
Earlier in the day, Riverview High led 7-0 entering the second quarter and then reeled off three more majors to take a 31-0 lead into the half and put the game against Moncton High out of reach.
While the Royals were piling on the points, they made sure the Purple Knights didn't. A hard-hitting defence, led by defensive lineman Adam Wentzell, didn't allow Moncton High to threaten offensively.
"I thought our defence played really well. We didn't know how they would do because the offence had been doing a little better in practice, but I'm glad they came up big," Messervier said.
"I thought Wentzell played a very strong game. He was a man out there."
Turple paced Riverview High with three touchdowns while slotback Launce Burdock added a pair and quarterback Anthony Sears had another.
Matt Archibald kicked a field goal and five converts in the win.
Trojans 27 Olympiens 0
The post-Perry Kukkonen era at Harrison Trimble began with a victory as free safety/returner Robbie Dobson scored two touchdowns in the Trojans' win over L'Odyssée.
Dobson returned a fumble 65 yards for one major and returned a punt 70 yards for another for Harrison Trimble, which led 13-0 at halftime.
"It's nice to get that first win under our belt," said new Trojans head coach and former assistant Mark Teed, who has replaced long-time bench boss Kukkonen.
"After a few plays everything fell into a routine on the sidelines, but it was different not seeing Perry there."
Quarterback John Toogood tossed a 37-yard touchdown pass to slotback Matt Seely and running back Chris Cornect scored on a 22-yard run to round out Harrison Trimble's scoring. Jordan Kenny added three converts.
In Eastern Conference action today, the defending New Brunswick champion Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders visit the Tantramar Titans in Sackville at 1 p.m.
The J.M.A. Armstrong Cougars open the 10-man division today when they host the Rothesay High Redhawks at 1 p.m. in Salisbury.