Week 7: October 17-18
|RUNNING ROUGHSHOD: Running back Devin Kearney of the Fredericton High School Black Kats plows straight ahead against the Oromocto High Blues in provincial high school football playoff action Saturday at FHS Field. Kearney scored three touchdowns, all from two yards out, as the Kats romped 44-0. They travel to Saint John on Saturday to play the Saint John Greyhounds in semifinal action.|
Kearney comes up big for Black KatsBy Bill Hunt
Published in the Daily Gleaner on Oct. 20
Appeared on page B1
Devin Kearney brought the Oromocto High School Blues to their knees Saturday afternoon at FHS Field.
Not bad for a guy who's really got only one of his own.
Kearney, the Fredericton High School Black Kats' bull of a fullback, scored three short yardage touchdowns, each from two yards out, and quarterback Jeff Madsen took another in on a three-yard keeper to get the Kats off and running to a 44-0 blowout of the Oromocto High School Blues in New Brunswick High School Football League Western Conference quarterfinal playoff action.
But the Kats didn't just run over the beleagured Blues on this day. In fact, it was big play after big play to set them up deep in the Blues' zone and Kearney doing the heavy lifting to take it in.
Take the "Durling Drive" for instance.
Second quarter. Kats up 7-0 after scoring on the final play of the first quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, the Blues march from their own 41 on a couple of quick strikes from quarterback Jesse Rae to receivers Nathan Heather and Rob Goodwin and an FHS penalty. But the drive stalls on the Kats' 31 yard line and the Kats take over.
Three plays later, it's in the Blues end zone: Madsen to Durling up the sideline 67 yards to the Blues' 22; Madsen to Durling over the middle to the one; and Kearney to paydirt for the major.
"I don't know if you'd call it (the Durling Drive) that," he said. "But halfway through the second was when we really showed we were the dominant team, I just got open and Jeff seemed to find me like he always does."
Madsen had a host of targets and lots of time to hit them.
There was a 70 yard pass-and-run up the left sideline from Madsen to Charles DuPlessis for another major. A 12-yard strike to A.J. Durling. And, with less than three minutes left, perhaps a glimpse of the future: a handoff from backup quarterback Sam Furey to running back Joon Lee and a 76-yard sprint up the sideline for the final major.
"I was expecting it to be within a touchdown or two either way," admitted Madsen. "I was expecting a really close game."
But Madsen showed the precision of a surgeon in picking apart the Blues' secondary. Unofficially, he was 15-for-21 for 350 yards passing, including plays covering 70, 67 and 63 yards.
"We just did our job," said Durling. "The O-line really stepped up, got all their blocks done, and it made it really easy for everyone else."
Or at least it made it look that way. It couldn't have been easy for Kearney: he's been wearing a brace on his left knee and will have surgery to repair a torn MCL, ACL and LCL -- pretty much every CL there is in other words -- Nov. 21.
"It's my last year, so I might as well play on it," he said. "I blew it out in the spring playing football. I try not to think about it when the game's going on...if you think about it, that's when you end up getting hurt. So I just try to play like it's not there."
He definitely demonstrated a nose for the end zone, finishing it off when the Kats got close.
"I'm not the fastest guy, but when I get there I there," said Kearney. "I've played since I was in Grade 4 and I've always been a quick person. Since I got the knee injury, it's a big change. But I enjoy it a lot more. It's fun to hit people."
Oromocto head coach Rob Wilson said the Blues' devised a game plan, but couldn't execute. Madsen, on the other hand, couldn't miss.
"They played a good game," he said. "He didn't miss anything. They seamed us all day and we just didn't react to it.
"They really took advantage of us outside," he said. "We did what we wanted to do at the first part of the game...we said we're not going to let them outside and hit those big plays on us. The truth is, we had a game plan and we just didn't match up. I thought we'd match up a little better on the outside of the field, and all their big plays were on the outside of the field."
Wilson felt his Blues "had a great season. No way in heck am I disappointed with our season. I thought our team overachieved this year. I was concerned earlier in the season, but I was happy with the job we had done. You get to a point in the season where the chips fall where they fall. I thought we had a great season."
The Kats will travel to Saint John to face the Greyhounds in south west semifinal action Saturday. Saint John, a perfect 5-0 in the South Division, trounced fourth place finishing Simonds High Seabees 70-0 in playoff play Friday night.
Hampton Huskies, the top finisher in the west division, survived to play another day by defeating the St. Mary's Leo Hayes Lions 10-7 Saturday in Hampton. In that game, a field goal by Adam Kane early in the second half proved to be the margin of victory for the Huskies. Corey O'Toole had the major for the Huskies with Cody Stewart catching a touchdown pass from Lions' QB Derek Broad for their only points. The Lions had their opportunities but lost a pair of fumbles inside the Huskies 10-yard line.
The Huskies will host the St. Malachy's High Saints, second place finishers in the southern Conference in the regular season with a 4-1 mark and 38-19 winners over St. Stephen in their playoff matchup last Friday.
Highlanders wind up perfect
St. Mac's, Hampton advance
Published in the Telegraph-Journal on Oct. 20
Appeared on page B8
HAMPTON - Adam Kane booted a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to snap a tie and lift the Hampton Huskies past the Leo Hayes Lions 10-7 in New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association high school football action Saturday.
Cory O'Toole scored the Huskies touchdown on their first play from scrimmage - a 75-yard run that Kane converted in the South Western conference quarter-final.
Derek Broad hit Cody Stewart for a touchdown pass to account for Leo Hayes major. The Lions added a rouge on a punt for the other point.
With the win, the Huskies advance to the conference semifinal, where they will host the St. Malachy's Saints.
The Saints advanced with a 38-19 victory over the St. Stephen Spartans.
Walker Blizzard scored a pair of touchdowns, including a 75-yard kickoff return on the first play of the game.
He added a five-yard run for the other score.
Nick Noel scored a pair of touchdowns on receptions of 50 and 75 yards while Isiah Nice and Rob Gale each scored on runs of 25 yards.
Blizzard kicked a pair of converts for the Saints.
Cody Boucher scored three touchdowns for St. Stephen, one on a long reception and the other two along the ground.
Meanwhile, the Fredericton Black Kats advanced to a conference semifinal showdown with the Saint John Greyhounds after blanking Oromocto 44-0 Saturday.
Devin Kearney scored on three one-yard run for the winners while Joon Lee (65-yard run), Charles Duplessis (50-yard reception), Jeff Madsen (three-yard run), AJ Durling (14-yard reception).
Saint John blasted Simonds 70-0 Friday.
Saint John downed Fredericton 20-7 in exhibition action.
In the Eastern Conference, MacNaughton blanked Mathieu-Martin 57-0.
|IíLL TACKLE THIS JOB Too: Josh Blanchard, left, of the Oromocto High School Beaver Brokerage Blues is known for his receiving abilities, but he can play defence as well, shown tackling a St. Malachyís player earlier this high school football season. The Blues face the Fredericton High School Black Kats in playoff action today. Kickoff is 1 p.m. at FHS field.|
Football Kats, Blues renew rivalry todayBy Mike Power
Published in the Daily Gleaner on Oct. 18
Appeared on page B1
One of the region's oldest sporting rivalries renews itself this afternoon at Fredericton High School field.
The Oromocto High School Beaver Brokerage Blues will travel the half hour needed to visit the FHS Black Kats in the first of four playoff rounds South-western division teams need to get through to win a provincial football championship. Game time is 1 p.m.
The Leo Hayes St. Mary's Lions will be on the road for their playoff opener this afternoon against the Hampton High School Huskies.
The Blues and Black Kats have little between them in the number department. The Kats finished the regular season 4-1 and the Blues 3-2 after a final day loss in Hampton but that was a slim margin.
"We were not really on our game against Hampton," said Blues receiver Josh Blanchard. "We were dropping passes and not running our patterns.
"At the half we talked it over and started to click. Our defence stopped their offence and we scored three touchdowns in the last five minutes. We decided to go for the two-point conversion for the win, but we didn't get it and that resulted in our loss."
And that failed two-pointer was the difference between home-field advantage in today's game.
In their five games, the Black Kats scored 171 points on offence, the Blues 176. On defence, OHS conceded 80 and FHS 82.
The other difference was in the lone head-to-head meeting on a windy day at FHS Field in Week 3. Fredericton came up huge that day with a 37-23 win. That day key lessons were learned that might be applied today.
"I noticed that they would rarely throw the ball against the wind," said FHS defensive back Joey Ley, who will be seeing a lot of Blanchard. "If we can take away their passing game then things should be easier for us as a defence.
"They are a very good throwing team, but our D-backs and linebackers will handle it fine. We have some really talented players at those positions and I know we will handle the pressure just fine."
But hey, Blanchard wants Ley to know it won't be easy.
"We have improved most on offence as the season has gone along," Blanchard said. "With Nathan Heather out with an injury in the pre-season, Jesse Rae stepped in and has done a great job leading us to the playoffs, and now we have Nathan back to do other things.
"I also think our running game has improved since that game. We have two great backs with Mitchell Player and Cody Doak. And our defence has done a great job in stopping the other team's offence."
And if losing that game earlier makes them the underdogs in today's game that's fine, too.
"It's always tough being the underdogs but we are going to go into the game focused on a win," said Blanchard, a rookie in Grade 11. "FHS had a good game last week. We know this is going to be a tough game but I think we are ready. We have put the last game behind us and focused in practice this week."
The last game FHS played, and the one Blanchard refers to, was a one sided 35-8 win over the Lions last Saturday in the annual North-South Bowl. If that result doesn't necessarily intimidate the Blues the Black Kats are still pretty pumped about it.
"It was a big deal for us, there was a lot on the line in that game," Ley said. "There was home-field advantage, north-south bowl, bragging rights, all on the line in that game and we showed up and handled it great. We played some really strong D against a good LHHS football team."
Ley, also a Grade 11 student but in his second season with the varsity, is looking forward to the challenge today.
"Last week I got one interception and our defence got three in the game," Ley said. "My understanding of our style of defence is we play our own responsibilities on the field. We don't try to be the big hero on the field.
"We play as a team and if a chance to be the hero happens we trust our team to make the play," Ley said. "We want to have another big day."
In South-West quarter-final play Friday, the Saint John Greyhounds improved their perfect record on the season with a 70-0 victory over the Simonds Seabees.
Caleb Jones and Matt Doucet each scored three rushing touchdowns for the 6-0 Greyhounds. Jones had scoring runs of 20, 54, and two yards while Doucet ran for majors of 35, 107 and 85 yards.
Other scores went to Cassian Ferrlatte (42-yard reception), Chris Tilley (32-yard punt return), Dave Flood (22-yard fumble recovery) and Dan Duplessis (60-yard interception return). Duplessis was 10-for-10 on conversions.
|Moncton High's Matt Simon avoids Tantramar Regional High's Braedon Black, left, as he runs for yardage during the first half at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.|
Purple Knights earn playoff ticket
|Hounds advance to semifinal
Published in the Telegraph-Journal on Oct. 18
Appeared on page C10
SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Greyhounds improved their perfect record on the season with a 70-0 victory over the Simonds Seabees in New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association South Western Conference quarter-final Friday. Caleb Jones and Matt Doucet each scored three rushing touchdowns for the 6-0 Greyhounds. Jones had scoring runs of 20, 54, and two yards while Doucet ran for majors of 35, 107 and 85 yards. Other scores went to Cassian Ferrlatte (42-yard reception), Chris Tilley (32-yard punt return), Dave Flood (22-yard fumble recovery) and Dan Duplessis (60-yard interception return). Duplessis was 10-for-10 on conversions.
High school matchups make for interesting battlesBy Kevin Barrett
Published in the Telegraph-Journal on Oct. 17
Appeared on page B12
In a season of high scores throughout the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association's High School Football League, the Hampton Huskies are this year's version of the Cardiac Kids.
At least recently.
Last week, the Huskies defence intercepted a pass on a two-point conversion with 1.2 seconds remaining to hold on for a 21-20 victory over the Oromocto Blues.
That, after falling by two points to Leo Hayes the week previously. All this happened in a division where two teams (Hampton and Fredericton) tied for first place at 4-1 in the regular season, just a game ahead of two others (Oromocto and Leo Hayes) at 3-2.
In short, it sets up several promising playoff battles, including Saturday in Hampton, where the No. 1 Huskies host the No. 4 Lions at 1 p.m. in the South Western Conference quarterfinal.
"They are a pretty gritty team," said Hampton's Alex Locke, a senior lineman who plays both ways for the Huskies (4-1 conference, 5-1 overall).
"They have some big guy who hit hard."
The Huskies will have home-field this week and are looking to avenge that narrow 22-20 loss to the Lions.
"We made a few big mistakes to give them some points. But we are pretty determined now and we are thinking about revenge," he said.
Overall, Hampton continues to shine thanks to an excellent running attack. Their defence has also stood out, with players such as Locke leading the charge. Only Oromocto (plus 96) has a better plus-minus rating in the points for and against total than Hampton (plus 91) in the West Division. But Locke says it is a total team approach and points to a Trevor Seely interception that saved the game against Oromocto in the final moments last week.
"He is the hardest working guy and he is a great tackler," said Locke. "He made this great leaping interception, it was huge for us."
Playoff action starts tonight when the No. 1 (South) Saint John Greyhounds host the No. 4 (South) Simonds Seabees in the conference quarter-final. The Greyhounds (5-0 conference 6-0 overall) defeated Simonds (2-3 conference, 2-4 overall) 72-0 on Oct. 3. Game time is 7 p.m. at Millidgeville Field.
Saturday, No. 3 (South) St. Stephen (3-2 conference, 3-3 overall) meets No. 2 (South) St. Malachy's (4-1 conference, 5-1 overall) at 1 p.m. at Shamrock Field while Fredericton, No. 3 (4-1 conference, 4-2 overall) in the West, travels to Oromocto (3-2 conference, 3-3 overall), No. 2 in the West, for a 1 p.m. contest.
In the Eastern Conference, regular season action wraps up with three games this weekend.
Tonight, Tantramar (3-2) travels to Moncton (2-3) for a 4 p.m. date at Rocky Stone Field while Harrison Trimble (3-2) entertains Riverview (4-1) at 7 p.m., also at Rocky Stone.
Saturday, Mathieu Martin (1-4) hosts MacNaughton (5-0) at 1 p.m. The top four teams in the East advance to conference semifinal round next week. In exhibition play Saturday, Kennebecasis Valley and Rothesay will tangle at 1 p.m. at the Arthur Miller Field in Rothesay.