Week 5: October 1-3
|Tracking a Kat: Peter Esson of the Fredericton High School Black Kats is tackled by Xavier Richards of the Oromocto High School Beaver Brokerage Blues during provincial high school football league action Saturday at FHS field. Nathan Heather, who caught an early 65-yard touchdown pass to lead the Blues to a 16-7 victory, is also in pursuit at right.|
Blues get better of Black Kats
By Robert Touchie
Published In the Daily Gleaner on Monday October 5, 2009
Appeared on page B1
It's been a while coming, but now that the Oromocto Beaver Brokerage Blues football team has gotten a giant monkey off their backs, they feel they can turn their attention to the one team objective that still remains.
The Blues hadn't beaten the Fredericton High School Black Kats in five years of New Brunswick High School Football League play, but that all changed when the Blues rattled off a 16-7 victory in front of 360 fans at FHS field Saturday afternoon, in a fashion much more dominating than the modest score might indicate.
The Blues wasted little time in asserting their aerial authority, striking just a minute and twenty seconds into the game as Nathan Heather snagged a 65-yard bomb from backup quarterback James Mitchell to stake the Blues to a 7-0 lead. It was a lead that they would build on and never surrender, as they controlled the field position battle in a game played primarily in the Kats' territory.
Heather was quick to point out that although the victory was significant, it's not the Blues' ultimate goal.
"This win is sweet because it has been a few years coming and we did it in their backyard, but we're aiming higher than this - we want the AAA provincial championship," said Heather, who would end the day with 106 receiving yards on four catches. "They had me triple-teamed for most of the day but fortunately I was able to break free on that first play of the game and give us a lead."
Heather's play caught the attention of Black Kats defensive coordinator Kyle Currie.
"It's just sick how good he is," said Currie. "He's a very talented receiver and we had to pay close attention to him today. We did a good job aside from that opening shot. I thought we handled them OK in the second half. We stopped their run all day and I think that's something to be positive about for our next game."
After the Heather TD, the Blues scored nine more points on a Mitchell Player five-yard TD run and a two-point convert caught by Heather on a pass from kicker Josh Blanchard, who had faked a PAT. Blanchard would add a single point on a missed field goal that resulted in a touchback.
OHS took a 16-0 lead, and a decided swagger, into the half. The Blues offence went into hibernation for the second half, virtually giving the Kats their only seven points, on a fumble at their own 12-yard line with 2:23 remaining in the third quarter.
On the ensuing series, the Kats' offence could barely get out of their own way to get into the Blues' end zone, having to rely on a generous placement for a first down at the OHS two-yard line. Defensive player Jake DeWolfe was brought in to finish the drive with a two-yard TD run after a bevy of Kats had made very little forward progress.
"Jake DeWolfe is a machine," said Black Kats head coach Mike Casey. "He played a very good game today - on both sides of the ball."
The Kats defence, rattled somewhat in the first half, came back in the second half and raised their level of performance, something their offensive brethren could not do.
"The defence played well but they are only one third of the game," said Casey. "No team can win with the kind of offensive performance we got today, not even against the worst high school team in the province. It was just unacceptable and there is no excuse. We have a lot of work to do."
With 25 seconds left in the half FHS showed one of its only signs of life offensively when QB Sam Furey hit Peter Esson with a 25-yard pass that put the Kats first and 10 on the OHS 45. The Blues' Matt Fagan then sacked Furey on first down and combined with two other defenders on second down for another backfield tackle before time expired in the half.
"I noticed that their linemen were calling out our numbers (the Blues) for coverage and I used that to my advantage and got through to the QB," said Fagan, a Grade 11 defensive tackle.
Oromocto head coach Rob Wilson felt that series was pivotal and that Fagan was an integral part of his team's win on the day and success this season.
"Matt's been amazing all year for us and he came up big again," said Wilson. "I think he's the best Grade 11 player I have seen this year in high school football."
Both teams were handicapped by having to sit out their starting QBs due to illness. Furey would finish the game going 8 for 20 and 158 yards, with two interceptions. Ryan Murphy led the Kats with 101 yards receiving on four catches, while the ground game was all but invisible.
Offensively for OHS, aside from Player, Blanchard and Heather, backup quarterback James Mitchell ran for 42 yards, while throwing for 162 yards and a touchdown.
"I think that James Mitchell was great today," Wilson said. "He's going to sneak up on some teams over the remainder of the season. He's a very athletic player and we're extremely pleased with him."
The Blues, 3-1, will be back in action this Saturday when they travel to Hampton to face the 2-2 Huskies. The Black Kats, 2-2, will hope to rebound in the ninth edition of the North-South Bowl, visiting the 3-1 Leo Hayes Lions on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
|Harrison Trimble's Will Rochlow gets tackled by Tantramar's Jeramy MacLeod (58) during the first half at Tantramar Regional High School on Saturday.|
Trojans beat Titans 35-0
Sussex Sonics remain unbeaten
Published In the Telegraph-Journal on Monday October 5, 2009
Appeared on page B8
SUSSEX - The Sussex Sonics continued to dominate the South East 10-man football league by handing the Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders a 27-7 loss Saturday on home turf.
The win leaves Sussex 4-0 in New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association football action while the Crusaders dropped to 2-1.
Trevor Seymour put the victors on the board in the first quarter off a 62-yard punt return. The Crusaders answered late in the frame by way of a 71-yard pass and run from quarterback Devon Toole to running back Adam Spurrell. Nathan Edwards kicked the extra point for a 7-6 Crusaders advantage heading into the second half.
Robert Dunfield regained the lead for his squad with a four-yard touchdown run that was converted by Mike Brown for two points and a 14-7 lead. The Sonics struck twice in the final frame using a 12-yard run from Dunfield and 42-yard pass and run play from quarterback Aaron Tabor to Mark Folkins.
The Crusaders played the second half short three starters, as Grade 9 student Matt Blain suffered a concussion, offensive lineman Conner Ware injured his hand and running back Quentin Chown hurt his knee. Blain was taken to hospital and was kept overnight for observation. He has since returned home.
Head coach Eugene Belliveau said the injuries forced players into unfamiliar positions and added strain to an already tense game.
"It was real street fight, a tough fought game on either side," Belliveau said. "Our quarterback played an extremely good game, he did a really good job sustaining the drives but with some of our horses down like that it was hard to come back."
Meanwhile, Kurtis Delaney had three touchdowns as the St. Stephen Spartans downed Mathieu Martin High 40-14 in 10-man action Saturday.
Delaney's majors stemmed from 12 carries for 111 yards, with the running back having touchdown runs of 60 and 50 yards called back by holding penalties.
Nonetheless, the Spartans improved to 3-1 on the season. Scott Bell had 11 carries for 126 yards and notched a 10-yard touchdown run, quarterback James Greenlee sent a 25-yard touchdown pass to Cody Richard while David Porter added one major in the winning effort. Luke Hayre nailed four of six conversions for the Spartans while David Guitar had an interception and led the squad defensively with seven tackles.
Pierre-Luc Michaud had both replies for Mathieu Martin while Pierre-Luc Landry kicked the single-point conversions.
The Rothesay Red Hawks captured their first win of the season by posting an 18-14 comeback victory over Simonds High in 10-man action Saturday.
The Red Hawks, down by 14 after the first half, came alive in the final half as Ben Hayward received a touchdown pass from quarterback Stuart Buckley, who also whipped a 10-yard touchdown pass to Devon Kelly. Dylan Sohi made a 25-yard dash for the winning touchdown as Rothesay improved to 1-2-1.
The Seabees took charge in the first half with quarterback Paul Stewart notching a one-yard touchdown to complete running back Jacob Baleman's 60-yard dash to the Red Hawks' doorstep. Baleman, who had nearly 200 yards of rushing on the day, added a major of his own off a 10-yard run while Trevor Carson had a two-point conversion in the losing effort which left the Seabees 1-3.
Lions climb to top
Published In the Daily Gleaner on Saturday October 3, 2009
Appeared on page B1
The Leo Hayes St. Mary's Lions moved into sole possession of first place in the New Brunswick High School Football League Southwestern Conference with a 36-12 win over the St. Malachy's Saints in Saint John Friday night.
Running back Damien Dustric ran for a pair of touchdowns, quarterback Derek Broad added two more, and Eric McGarry collected a touchdown and booted three converts as the Lions broke to a 19-12 halftime lead and stretched it from there.
The Lions improved to 3-1 on the season, two points up on four other teams in the standings, with their third straight victory, to move two points ahead of the Fredericton High School Black Kats, Oromocto High School Blues, Saint John Greyhounds and Hampton Huskies, each of whom have four points.
The winner of this afternoon's game between the rival Black Kats and Oromocto High, a 1 p.m. kickoff at FHS Field, will move back into a tie for top spot in the Southwest with three weeks left on the regular season calendar.
This afternoon's game will feature the retirement of former Black Kat Dan McCullough's number 92 jersey in a halftime ceremony. McCullough, who now plays in the Canadian Football League with the British Columbia Lions, played for the Kats for two seasons, in 1999 and 2000.
In the Eastern Conference, the two frontrunners remain tied after a Friday night showdown between the Moncton High Purple Knights and Riverview Royals ended deadlocked at 7-7, the second time the two powers have tied this season.
They battled to a 21-21 sawoff in the season opener.
four weeks ago. They boast identical 2-0-2 W-L-T records to share top spot in the East-.
"It was a defensive battle," said Royals coach Guy Messervier.
"Both defences played very well." Messervier said despite the low score he was impressed with his offence.
"I was more happy with our offence," Messervier said. "We drove the ball at times and ran 25 plays during the first half.
"Also, we had only one turnover in the game and the last time we played them we had seven..that's quite an improvement."
The game was tight throughout and Messervier said he can't ever remember the same two teams playing back-to-back tie games.
After a scoreless first quarter, Riverview took a 3-0 lead in the second quarter on a 16-yard Casey Glenen field goal.
But Moncton High grabbed a 7-3 lead by halftime on quarterback Dylan Rogers' 25-yard touchdown run and convert by Lucas Constantine in the second quarter.
Another field goal by Glenen in the third quarter, this time from 16 yards out, cut the lead to 7-6 before Glenen tied the game 7-7 with a single off a punt midway through the fourth quarter.
MHS coach John Allanach praised both teams in describing the game.
"It was a low-scoring game with two teams fighting it out," Allanach said. "Riverview a good team and we were able to keep up to them again."
|Moncton High Purple Knights' Travis Joyce grabs the ball but fails to hang onto it as teammate Matt Toogood and Riverview High Royals' Rob Diamond (2) and Jesse Balser (12) look on during the first half at Riverview High yesterday.|
Knights, Royals fight for first
|Senior stalwarts Joey Ley of the Fredericton High School Black Kats, left, and Josh Blanchard of the Oromocto High School Bever Brokerage Blues will do battle in a key Southwest Conference New Brunswick High School Football League contest Saturday at 1 p.m. at FHS Field. The teams enter the game tied with 2-1 records.|
Strength against strength
|Running back Kurtis Delaney has been piling up the yardage and touchdowns in limited touches as a member of the St. Stephen High Spartans varsity football team.|
Spartans' back makes most of his touches
By Randy O'Donnell
Published In the Telegraph-Journal on Thursday October 1, 2009
Appeared on page B7
Kurtis Delaney figured the transition from the pitch to a football field would present challenges.
An accomplished inside centre with the Fundy High School Mariners rugby team, Delaney decided to try his hand at football when he transferred from the St. George school to St. Stephen in 2008. What he found was a similar passion, just in pads and a helmet.
"We didn't have a football program at Fundy so when I transferred I thought I'd give it a try," he said this week. "I figured football was similar. You get the ball and go forward."
Delaney has come to realize the vast differences in the two games. He views football as a more intense game with fits and burst punctuated by furious action. Rugby requires far more running, with different tackling techniques and fitness demands.
"I like the hitting in both," Delaney said prior to a practice this week. "Both are contact sports although football has a greater complement of sacrifices."
At 5' 10", 67.5 kilograms, Delaney played defence last season as a shutdown defensive back and safety for the Spartans. This season, with the departure of running back Cody Boucher, coach Neil Grant switched him to offence.
The results have been dramatic.
Earlier this year, in a victory over Harbour View High, Delaney scored four touchdowns, racking up 222 yards on just eight carries. He recorded one of his majors on a 70-yard kick-off return.
Last week in a win over Rothesay High, Delaney rushed for another 161 yards on eight carries, including touchdown runs of 65 and 71 yards. He had another touchdown run of 70 yards called back on a holding call.
With such an explosive weapon, one would wonder why the coach would not call Delaney's number more often. But with games out of reach early, Grant has chosen to spread to the offence to other members of the 30-player roster, limiting Delaney's touches.
"He's got real good speed, just a natural athlete," said Grant, who was among the voices advocating the return of 10-man football this season as a way to grow the game and avoid the types of blowouts that occurred last year when larger schools dismantled smaller, less-established varsity programs with regularity.
Delaney hopes to attend St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. next year, with an eye to studying human kinetics. However, he'll likely leave his football helmet behind.
"I don't think I could make their football team. But I'll probably try out for their rugby team," said Delaney, who played on the wing for the New Brunswick Canada Games rugby team this summer in Prince Edward Island.
DESILETS MEMORIAL GAME: The 2-1 Spartans take on Mathieu-Martin this Saturday at home in the annual Alex Desilets memorial game. Desilets, who died suddenly five years ago, taught French at St. Stephen High and was the school's head coach. His commitment to the game led to the 10-man league's provincial trophy being named in his honour.
In other action from the South East Conference's 10-man league, L'Odyssee plays Harbour View at 5 p.m. Friday at Millidgville field while on Saturday Rothesay is at Simonds at 1 p.m. and Kennebecasis High travels to Sussex High to take on the Sonics at 1 p.m.
In the South West 12-man division Friday, Saint John High travels to Hampton to take on the Huskies at 4 p.m. and Leo Hayes High plays St. Malachy's at Shamrock at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Oromocto High plays Fredericton High at 1 p.m. in Fredericton.