New Brunswick High School Football League
2009-In the News


Week 9: October 30-31: Quarter-Finals

Moncton High Purple Knights Marc McDougall charges forward as he is forced out of bounds by Riverview High Royals JP Bowie during the second half at Riverview High School on Saturday.

Knights move to 12-man semis
Matadors continue on in 10-man division

Moncton High Purple Knights running back Marc McDougall sensed it was just a matter of time before the offence found its stride.

After tying Riverview High twice during the regular season, the Knights scored 21 points in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon in Riverview and blanked the Royals 24-0 in a New Brunswick High School Football League playoff game.

"They were coming at us hard and our guys stood up to them," said McDougall, who played for the Tantramar Titans the last two seasons.

"We spread out our offence and their defence had a hard time adjusting," the Grade 12 student said. "It was a total team effort on our part.

"We had the run going, the passing game was solid and the offensive line did an amazing job. Everyone did his job. We knew we could break through and score some points against Riverview, but we needed everyone working together."

The victory pushed the Purple Knights, who finished third in the Eastern Conference, into the provincial semifinals.

Purple Knights will host the Fredericton High Black Kats, who were fourth in the Western Conference then upset the first-place Oromocto High Black Kats, in a provincial 12-man league semifinal Friday at 7 p.m. at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

Harrison Trimble Trojans, who were fourth in the Eastern Conference and ousted the three-time defending champion Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders, who were first, will visit the Saint John High Greyhounds, who were second in the Western Conference on Friday night.

Winners will meet for the provincial title Nov. 14 in Moncton.

Lucas Constantine opened the scoring for the Purple Knight son Saturday with a 21-yard field goal late in the first quarter.

The defensive units for both teams then took over for the next two quarters.

Knights forced the Royals to turn the ball over on downs three times after they failed to move the ball on third and short situations. Knights also blocked a pair of punts, Matt Sears recovered a fumble while Colin Irving and Jordan Bedard had interceptions.

"Our defence was great again," McDougall said. "Our offence got the ball in good field position most of the time. We weren't able to score much until the fourth quarter, but we just kept working and sticking with the game plan."

Royals defence was stingy for much of the game, too, and Matt Jay recorded an interception.

However, Purple Knights quarterback Dylan Rogers took charge of the game during the final 12 minutes of play. He consistently showed nimble agility while rolling out of the pocket.

Rogers, a Grade 12 student, found receivers down field for a handful of big gains, handed the ball off to McDougall, who plowed his way into the secondary for several 10-15-yard pickups or tucked the ball away and scrambled for valuable yardage himself.

Travis Joyce, on a six-yard pass from Rogers, Irving, on a 35-yard interception return, and Luke Dickison, on a five-yard run, had touchdowns for the Knights in the fourth quarter. Constantine kicked converts on all three majors.

"We supported each other and we won as a team, not as individuals," McDougall said.

Meanwhile, Mathieu-Martin Matadors opened the playoffs in the provincial 10-man league with a 14-13 win over the Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders Saturday night at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

Matadors will visit the undefeated Sussex High Sonics in one provincial semifinal while the Harbour View Vikings will meet the St. Stephen Spartans in the other. Vikings advanced by defeating the Rothesay Red Hawks 31-20.

Semifinal winners will clash for the provincial title Nov. 14 in Moncton.

Matadors rallied from a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter to rally and beat the Crusaders.

"They threw everything at us early, but we were able to get a few things corrected and our defence came up big by shutting them down the rest of the way," said Matadors coach Shane Mosher.

Crusaders drove the ball late in the game, but the Matadors stopped their progress on the two-yard line with just 1:10 left on the clock.

Marc Boucher, on a pass from Xavier Couture, and Gilbert Deguire, who wrestled himself out of several tackles and ran for 40 yards, had touchdowns for the Matadors. Justin Cormier punted a pair of long singles, including one from 50 yards.

"The wind was a big factor," Mosher said. "We like the balance our offence between passing and running, but the wind made it hard to pass. We were able to get a good ground game going. The offence did a great job of moving the ball on the ground."

Harbour View High Vikings running back Brett Saunders rumbles up field with Rothesay High Red Hawks’ Cameron Elliott in pursuit. Saunders scored four touchdowns to lead the the Vikings to a 30-21 win Saturday at Millidgeville Field. Kennebecasis Valley High Crusaders quarterback Devon Toole throws under pressure from Mathieu-Martin's Samuel Collette during first-half action at Rocky Stone Memorial Field in Moncton Saturday. The Crusaders fell to the Matadors 14-13.

Vikings roll into 10-man semis
Football Running back's four majors leads Harbour View over Rothesay High Red Hawks

SAINT JOHN - Brett Saunders was an unstoppable force on the gridiron Saturday, propelling his Harbour View High Vikings to a 30-21 win over Rothesay High in South East 10-man quarterfinal action at Millidgeville Field.

The powerful running back scored four of five majors and was a pivotal component in sustaining the Vikings' drives as the squad advanced to the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association provincial semifinals next weekend.

"The difference was Brett Saunders," Vikings head coach Maurice Roche said after the game. "He's an absolute beast on the field and whenever he's out there he's got to be accounted for."

Saunders made his presence known right from the opening kick-off by returning it for an 80-yard touchdown run that appeared effortless.

Red Hawks kicker Andrew Brooks put his team on the board five minutes later when he booted a punt into the end zone for a one-point rouge.

In their next series, Rothesay High earned tremendous field position when Ben Hayward reeled in a 20-yard pass from quarterback Stuart Buckley and flags on the play sent the Red Hawks to the Vikings' doorstep.

Dylan Sohi punched one through and the Red Hawks took an early lead late in the first frame. Brooks made the convert and added another rouge from the kick-off to give his team a 9-6 edge.

Saunders scored at the top of the second quarter after Mike Scott put the Vikings in striking distance with a 30-yard gain on a reversal. With 3:50 left in the half, Dan Hutchinson made it 18-9 off a quarterback sneak.

Saunders would score twice more before the end of the half, intercepting a pass and running 40-yards for a major and driving 35 yards for another.

Sohi notched his second touchdown of the day after Jordan LeBlanc made a stellar 60-yard run through the middle to set the Red Hawks up at the Vikings line.

Down 30-15 entering the final half, Rothesay came out determined to close the gap and maintained possession for two-thirds of the quarter.

"The heart was totally fantastic, the guys knew they were capable of playing better football and we showed it in the second half by shutting down (the Vikings)," Red Hawks head coach Bob Cote said.

The Red Hawks were marching hard in the third session, led largely by Sohi. Hayward completed the drive with a spectacular leaping one-hand grab in the end zone.

"We knew Rothesay was more of a second-half team and we had a game-plan for that," Roche said. "Our defence stepped up when they needed to step up."

That they did, shutting down the Red Hawks last scoring opportunity with nine minutes remaining after Saunders intercepted a pass on the Vikings 30-yard line.

"I'm very pleased with my guys," Cote said as his seniors led a cheer after the final whistle. "But the Vikings did well; they took their best player and featured him."

Harbour View now enters the 10-man semifinals next Friday or Saturday, where they'll face the St. Stephen Spartans.

"They have a great program down there, but our guys have come a long way and I think we're ready to compete with them," Roche said."

In other 10-man quarterfinal action, Ecole Mathieu-Martin edged Kennebecasis Valley High 14-13 to end the Crusaders' playoff run and send themselves to the provincial semifinal next weekend. The Matadors will face the undefeated Sussex Sonics, who, along with St. Stephen High, earned a bye into the semis for finishing first and second, respectively, in the regular season.

Meanwhile, Moncton High blanked Riverview High 24-0 in 12-man quarterfinal action Saturday. Moncton enters the provincial semifinal as the top seed from the East and will play Fredericton High, the No. 2 squad from the South-West, this weekend in Moncton. Saint John High, representing the best from the South-West, will host Harrison Trimble High at Millidgeville Field. The exact date and times for the provincial semifinal contests have yet to be determined.

Fredericton High School Black Kats’ slotback Ryan Murphy is tackled by Oromocto High School Blues’ linebacker Jesse Gauvreau during New Brunswick High School Football League quarterfinal action at Chapman Field Friday. The fourth place Black Kats knocked off the division winning Blues 11-10. 75o 81f
Kats boot Blues to the sidelines
High school football: Esson single sends Kats to provincial semifinal

For a mediocre 40 yard punt it certainly kicked off a wild celebration.

Factor in that it was kicked on the last play of the opening game of the New Brunswick High School Football League Western Conference l playoffs, and gave the Fredericton High School Black Kats the single point they needed to down the Oromocto High School Blues 11-10, though, and the ensuing melee on the turf at Chapman Field makes a little more sense.

"I have never won a game with a punt before," Peter Esson, the Grade 11 kid who kicked it said afterwards. "It felt amazing. Just unbelievable."

In a game that featured the two best defenses in the Western conference in terms of points allowed and one team - Oromocto High School - that hadn't been scored on in three games, Friday evening's quarterfinal at Chapman Field was, as billed, a defensive battle.

It may not have looked that way at first.

Oromocto quarterback James Mitchell made a 50 yard drive, capped off with a 25 yard field goal from Josh Blanchard, look like child's play on the game's opening series. Then, after Blanchard missed a 30 yard field goal on the Blues next series, Mitchell drove the field again, hitting Mitch McCoy with a 40 yard bomb in the front corner of the end zone to make it 10-0.

But the offensive sparks would only fly for so long.

The Black Kats contained star Oromocto High School slot back Nathan Heather for much of the game and were able to continually break up passes to talented wideouts McCoy and Pat Haley.

Eventually, the Kats' offence woke up too, as quarterback Jeff Madsen took the Kats all the way to the 18 yard line late in the first half, and Esson made no mistake on the field goal.

Early in the second half Madsen tied the game up on a quarterback draw from 10 yards out.

The play was made possible thanks to a 50 yard kickoff return from Black Kat Garrett Gee.

"He (Madsen) makes a huge difference in the offence and he certainly did today, but you know everyone had to step up and everyone did," said Black Kats head coach Mike Casey.

"Defence was huge, special teams were big and the offence moved the ball.That's what needs to happen to win a football game."

In the second both offences continued to struggle while both defences turned up their intensity.

The fact that the biggest catch of the day was an interception - Gee picked off Josh Blanchard at the one yard line midway through the third quarter - should tell you something.

In fact Fredericton High School's defence was so good in the waning minutes,that Oromocto, who had outscored their opponents 131-0 over their last three games, put up three straight three-and-out series' deep in their own end zone, as the battle for field position started to shift.

Finally the Kats got the ball back with 47 seconds left, got a first down, and left the rest up to Esson.

"Our defense didn't bend all day, but offensively we struggled and at the end of the day they had great field position on us at the end at that was the difference," said OHS head coach Rob Wilson.

"One first down at the end there and a better job of getting the clock off and it might have been different, but they (FHS) deserved to win today."

Mitchell, who took over quarterbacking duties after regular starter Jesse Rae broke his leg in early October, said it was a frustrating game to play.

"They were plugging up holes and we just couldn't open them up and when that happens you can't run," he said. "It is pretty depressing right now, but we tried our hardest and we just didn't come up with it."

The Black Kats will play the winner of today's game between the Moncton High Purple Knights and Riverview Royals on the road next weekend. Harrison Trimble Trojans of Moncton, the fourth place finishers in the East with a 2-4 record, who posted an upset of their own when they knocked off the defending provincial champion and Eastern Conference winning Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders 10-7 in Moncton.

The status of Kats' quarterback Madsen, who was hit hard late in the game and helped off the field, is unknown.


Football Trojans stun high-flying Highlanders
Three-time defending champion Bernice MacNaughton eliminated from playoffs

Harrison Trimble Trojans quarterback John Toogood talked the talk. Then he went out and walked the walk.

Harrison Trimble won just two games and was inconsistent in the New Brunswick High School Football League 12-man division regular season, but earlier in the week Toogood said he believed the Trojans have "the best team in the (Eastern) conference, but we just haven't shown it yet."

Last night, they did just that.

Harrison Trimble pulled off a stunning 10-7 victory over the Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders in an Eastern Conference semifinal at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

When Matt Heaton's 19-yard field goal attempt for the Highlanders with five seconds left on the clock hit the upright and out, it gave the Trojans the upset win and ended Bernice MacNaughton's reign as three-time defending New Brunswick 12-man division champions.

"I knew I had to back up what I said. We didn't show what we could do in the regular season, but we knew we could pull it all together for the playoffs. We knew the kind of team we were," said Toogood, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student.

"This is the biggest game of my career, the best win ever. MacNaughton is a great football team and they brought it. This is one I'll remember for sure."

Harrison Trimble advances to a New Brunswick crossover semifinal against the Saint John High Greyhounds next weekend.

The other Eastern Conference semifinal features the second-place Riverview High Royals and third-place Moncton High Purple Knights today at 1 p.m. in Riverview. The winner faces the Fredericton High Black Kats in the other provincial semifinal.

The Trojans entered the game as underdogs, with a 2-4 regular-season record for fourth place.

The Highlanders were first at 5-1.

Harrison Trimble trailed 7-0 at halftime, but got back in the game on a 21-yard field goal by Will Rochlow early in the fourth quarter. Then Toogood went to work. He rolled out and found receivers Steve Fox and David Boulay for big plays or put his head down and ran for yardage.

The Trojans finally managed to sustain an offensive drive late in the game and it paid off when Toogood threw a 24-yard strike to Fox, who got in behind Highlander defensive backs in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown and a 10-7 lead with 2:01 remaining.

Bernice MacNaughton didn't go down without a fight.

It got deep into Harrison Trimble territory, thanks to a huge catch from receiver Morgan McIsaac and a questionable pass interference penalty on the Trojans.

Try as they might, though, the Highlanders couldn't get in the end zone, despite a gritty effort from quarterback Mac Wade, and Heaton's field goal attempt for the tie just missed.

"My offensive line was incredible in our passing game and my receivers were just amazing. I owe it all to them," said Toogood, who praised his defence, which hung in with a Bernice MacNaughton team that put up a conference-best 183 points in the regular season.

"Our defence is the reason we stayed in this game. The defence is the soul of this team."

All of a sudden, Harrison Trimble -- a team that flew under the radar all season long -- is in the hunt for a New Brunswick title.

"We felt we had a good team, we were just kind of snakebitten in the regular season. It took us four quarters to click tonight, but our defence kept us in the game and the offence put one up when we really needed it," said Trojans head coach Mark Teed.

"We were the underdogs and rightfully so. The top three teams were the frontrunners from the beginning of the season and we took some time to hit our stride, but we're here now."

The Highlanders' lone touchdown came from Wade on a QB sneak from three yards out late in the second quarter.

"I think Trimble played an excellent game and I want to congratulate them on doing well. We showed up in the fourth quarter and we just couldn't stop them," said Bernice MacNaughton head coach Ed Wasson, whose team has won four provincial championships in the last five years.

"We had a slim lead and we just couldn't hang on. It's been a tougher season than normal and I think it's made everyone better and now we look forward to building for next year."

In Western Conference semifinals last night, fourth-place Fredericton High upset the first-place Oromocto High Blues 11-10 and second-place Saint John High thumped the third-place Leo Hayes Lions 42-15.

Playoffs in the league's 10-man division begin today. The Mathieu-Martin Matadors host the Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders in a quarter-final tonight at 6 p.m. at Rocky Stone.

Saint John High School Greyhounds running back Alex Peabody breaks away for Leo Hayes Lions defender Peter Reimer for a touchdown to start off the second half of play in provincial high school football playoff action. The Greyhounds downed the Lions 42-15.

Greyhounds pound Lions
Football: SJHS is top seed in South West Conference

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John High Greyhounds advanced to the provincial high school 12-man football semifinal after dropping the Leo Hayes High 42- 15 Friday night in New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association quarterfinal action.

Both squads took to the gridiron at Millidgeville Field determined to keep their season alive, grinding to a 7-7 tie after the first quarter.

The Greyhounds asserted their strength in the second quarter. Evan McAulay recouped from a fumble and broke through the middle for a 63-yard touchdown run along the right side. Doucet punched one through on a seven-yard run shortly thereafter.

Quinn made both kicks and the Greyhounds held a 21-7 advantage heading into the second half.

The Greyhounds scored three more unanswered majors in the second half. Alex Peabody set the tone by returning a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown and Doucet scored for a third time on a short run.

In the fourth quarter, McAulay added another touchdown off a nine-yard run.

All three point-after attempts by Quinn were successful as the Greyhounds took a commanding 42-7 lead.

Leo Hayes scored on a seven-yard run from running back Josh Campbell with Eric McGarry adding a two-point point-conversion for a 42-15 final. The Greyhounds will enter next week’s conference cross over as the top seed from the South-West after Fredericton High edged the Oromocto Blues 11-10 Friday.

As the top seed, they’ll play the crossover at home, slated for Friday or Saturday.

In other 12-man action, the Harrison Trimble Trojans downed Bernice MacNaughton High 10-7. The provincial championship will take place Nov. 14.

Nathan Heather, left, of the Oromocto High School Blues was a virtual one-man wrecking crew for the Blues as they won six of seven games during the regular season in the west conference of the N.B. High School Football League. Here, Heather tries to avoid tackler Dan MacDonald of Fredericton High School Black Kats earlier this season. The Blues host the Kats in playoff action today at UNB’s Chapman Field beginning at 4 o’clock. Winner plays the SJHS vs. Leo Hayes winner next week.

Black Kats face uphill battle taking on Blues
Football playoffs | Chapman Field provides venue for west conference matchup between long-time rivals

If there was one question that summed up the entire regular season in the Western Conference of the New Brunswick High School Football League, it was quite simply: how do you score against the Oromocto High School Blues?

Fredericton High School Black Kats head coach Mike Casey can’t help but wonder the same thing as he prepares his team for a 4 p.m. provincial quarterfinal against the Blues at UNB’s Chapman Field today. The switch in venues stems from last week’s rains in which OHS’s MacKenzie Field was reduced to a muddy quaqmire, making the field unplayable. Chapman Field has artificial turf.

“Boy that’s a tough question,” he said. “Our plan right now is to just run a regular offence against them and see what happens. When we played them in week four (a 16-7 loss), our starting quarterback Jeff Madsen was in the hospital, so Jeff’s back and is healthy and he certainly will have an impact. But it’s going to be tough. We need everybody to step up. There is not one kid that can make a difference. Everyone needs to come up big.”

The Blues were the class of the west during the regular season, finishing 6-1 and outscoring their opponents 131-0 over their final three games.

The Black Kats meanwhile, had an off year by their standards, needing a 45-0 win over the winless St. Malachy’s Saints last Saturday in Saint John to finish 3-4 and claim the conference fourth and final playoff spot.

They enter today’s game with all the bumps and bruises one would expect from a team that had to fight for their playoff lives over the last couple weeks.

Running back Dylan DesMeules will not be available after suffering a knee injury against St. Malachy’s, offensive lineman Andrew Kinley is out after hurting his knee in practice Tuesday night and seven other players will be out with a various injuries suffered during the stretch run.

Casey figures his one chance will be on defence. The Kats only allowed 75 points this year, second to only OHS (38 points allowed) in that category.

“I am really high on my defence right now,’’ Casey said. “We have managed 42 points in three games against us, and especially with Oromocto putting up 50 points against Leo Hayes and 38 against Hampton recently, I can say we will be OK that way,” he said.

“Special teams are going to be really important, though. Our punt returners and our kickoff guys are going to have to be on. I can say that for sure.”

For Oromocto, the challenge will be in keeping the offensive roll they have been on of late going against a tough Black Kats defence.

Enter Nathan Heather.

The Grade 12 slot back, defensive back and occasional quarterback has been dominant this year, racking up 380 yards receiving to go with nine touchdowns through the air and four on the ground. In a game against Leo Hayes on Oct 18, he even picked off four passes lining up as a defensive back.

“Like it or not, Nathan is a man among boys. Of all the players I have seen this year, he is so ready for the CIS,” said Casey.

“Do we have anybody who can stay with him? We have guys who are fast enough to stay with him and we have a couple guys who can put a good lick on him, but can we stop him? I don’t think you can stop a guy like that, but we’ll certainly try to hold him (down).’’ For his part, OHS head coach Rob Wilson has a word of warning for the Black Kats.

“In past years, taking away a key individual from our team would have mattered a lot, but not this year,” he said. ““Mitch McCoy (wide receiver) is a premier player on every team in the province, Josh Blanchard (slot back) would be the same and our fourth receiver on the far side, Pat (Haley) would be welcomed anywhere, so we have a lot of weapons and taking away one of them just means the other guys step up.”

Wilson said the Blues have improved from the time they struggled in the 16-7 win against FHS, a game in which they were shut out in the second half.

“Offensively our game has improved a lot since then,” he said. “We started a rookie quarterback (James Mitchell) because of (grade 12 quarterback) Jesse Rae’s injury (broken leg) and he has certainly come a long way since then.”

The winner of today’s game will play the winner of today’s Leo Hayes High Lions vs. Saint John High School Greyhounds matchup in Saint John in the conference final and provincial semifinal next week. The Greyhounds finished 5-2 in second place while the Lions were third at 4-3. The two teams met last weekend in Saint John with the Greyhounds prevailing, 49-18.

Matchups in the East Conference feature No. 1 MacNaughton High taking on No. 4 Harrison Trimble and No. 2 Riverview High taking on No. 3 Moncton High.

If OHS wins today, it would host the west final, but Wilson isn’t taking anything for granted.

“They (FHS) have had some difficulty scoring, but I expect the coaching staff will make some adjustments and their defence has been amazing,” Wilson said. “The kids are excited and they don’t need me to tell them how important this game is. It’s huge.”

Only strong remain after 75 bone-jarring football games
Gridiron: Regional high school playoffs begin in 12- and 10-man varsity divisions

SAINT JOHN - And then there were 14. That is the number of football teams standing after nine weeks of play and more than 75 bone-jarring games on gridirons across this province.

The regional playoffs begin Friday in both the 10- and 12-man divisions of the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association.

In the South East 10-man Conference, top finishers, the Sussex Regional Sonics (7-0), and No. 2 seed St. Stephen Spartans get the week off as seeds three through six battle this weekend for a spot in the provincial semifinals. Friday at 6 p.m., the Kennebecasis Valley High Crusaders (3-4) travel to Rocky Stone Field in Moncton to take on the 3-3-1 Mathieu-Martin Matadors. On Saturday, the third-seeded Harbour View High School Vikings take their 5-2 conference record to Millidgeville Field for a 1 p.m. date with No. 6 Rothesay High Red Hawks, who finished 2-4-1.

The lowest remaining seed from this weekend's action will travel to Sussex next week to face the Sonics. The highest-seed standing earns a date with the Spartans in St. Stephen. Dates and times have yet to be posted. The provincial championship is set for Nov. 14 at Rocky Stone.

In the 12-man game, eight teams remain, four in each conference. In the South West regional playoffs this week, the Leo Hayes Lions (4-3) take on the 5-2 Saint John High Greyhounds at Millidgeville Field Friday at 7 p.m. The second-seeded Greyhounds are 2-0 against Leo Hayes this season, outscoring them 72-25 in the process.

In the other regional playoff match from the South West, the Fredericton High School Black Kats (3-4) travel to Oromocto High Saturday to play the top-seeded Blues (6-1). The winners play in a provincial semifinal Nov. 7, with the final the following Saturday at Rocky Stone.

In the East, Harrison Trimble (2-4) plays top-seeded Bernice MacNaughton (5-1) Friday at 7 p.m. at Rocky Stone, while on Saturday, Riverview High (3-1-2) plays host to Moncton High (3-1-2) in a battle of evenly matched teams. The teams have played to a draw both times they've squared off this season. The winner advances to a semifinal next weekend.

Football Trojans like their chances
Harrison Trimble High squares off against MacNaughton Highlanders in opening round of 12-man league playoffs tomorrow

First place in the Eastern Conference of the New Brunswick High School Football League wasn't decided until the final weekend of the regular season.

At various times during the season, the Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders, Riverview High Royals and Moncton High Purple Knights each had the inside track at gaining the top spot.

All three teams have solid defensive units and a handful of offensive players capable of breaking games open. In the end, it was the three-time defending provincial champion Highlanders who relied on a combination of experience and opportunism to post a 5-1 record and a claim on first place.

Harrison Trimble Trojans, meanwhile, were inconsistent, but they managed to secure the fourth and final playoff spot while everyone else was wondering how the top three were going to finish.

That lack of attention suits the Trojans just fine.

"We've been under the radar all year long, but we know we've got a team that's as good as the other three," Grade 12 quarterback John Toogood said during a break at practice earlier this week.

"I honestly believe we've got the best team in the conference, but we just haven't shown it yet," the blunt-talking 17-year-old said.

"It's the playoffs so now it's time to show what we're all about. We've got a good, well-balanced team that's ready to turn some heads in the playoffs. We might not have had a great year, but it's going to be a different story in the playoffs."

Trojans (2-4) square off against the Highlanders in the opening round of the provincial 12-man league playoffs tomorrow. Game time is 7 p.m. at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

Royals and Purple Knights, who each posted 3-1-2 records, clash Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Riverview High field. The teams tied in each of their two regular season meetings.

In the Western Conference playoffs tomorrow, the Oromocto High Blues (6-1) host the Fredericton High Black Kats (3-4) and the Saint John High Greyhounds (5-2) entertain the Leo Hayes Lions (4-3).

Winners will cross over against survivors from the opposing conference in provincial semifinal games next weekend.

Meanwhile, Toogood would not reveal anything about Trimble's game plan for tomorrow night. He shook his head and laughed when a reporter asked him for a hint at how he's going to approach the Highlanders and their deft and swift defensive unit.

"Let's just say, we're going to mix it up," said Toogood, who joined the Trojans as a cornerback in Grade 9, but has been the starting quarterback for the last three seasons.

"We feel good about our ability to pass the ball and run the ball effectively," he said. "The defence can't just focus on our running game because we've got good receivers so we've got a pretty good passing game, too."

Toogood said the Trojans are looking forward to facing the Highlanders.

"A few of the guys were talking about how sweet it would be to knock off the team that has won the championship three years in a row," the quarterback said.

"I know that no one expects us to win. No one is really taking us seriously and that's okay. We know that we can win this game and that's all that matters. We don't care what anyone else says about our football team."

Playoffs in the provincial 10-man league begin Saturday. The first-place Sussex Sonics (7-0) and second-place St. Stephen Spartans (6-1) have earned first-round byes.

Harbour View Vikings of Saint John (5-2) host the Rothesay Red Hawks (2-4-1) in a quarter-final game at 1 p.m. while the Mathieu-Martin Matadors (3-3-1) welcome the Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders (3-4) in another quarter-final at 6 p.m. at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.


Football regular season wrapping up
Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders visit l'Odyssée Olympiens tonight

Regular season play in the New Brunswick High School Football League concludes tonight at Rocky Stone Memorial Field in Moncton.

Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders visit l'Odyssée Olympiens in a 10-man division game at 7 p.m.

Crusaders enter the game with a 2-4 record and a win tonight will lift them from the sixth and final playoff spot into fifth place.

Olympiens, meanwhile, have lost all six of their games this season and will miss the post-season.

Sussex High Sonics (7-0) and St. Stephen Spartans (6-1) have each earned first-round byes.

Harbour View Vikings (5-2) will host an opening round playoff game against either the Crusaders or the Rothesay Red Hawks (2-4-1).

Mathieu-Martin Matadors (3-3-1) will also host a first-round playoff game. If the Crusaders win tonight, they will face the Matadors. However, if the Crusaders lose tonight the Matadors will tangle with the Red Hawks. The game will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. in Dieppe.

In the Eastern Conference of the 12-man league, three-time defending champion Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders (5-1) will host the Harrison Trimble Trojans (2-4) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Rocky Stone Memorial Field while the Riverview High Royals (3-1-2) will entertain the Moncton High Purple Knights (3-1-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Western Conference matchups will see the first-place Oromocto High Blues host fourth-place Fredericton High Black Kats and the second-place Saint John High Greyhounds will tangle with the third-place Leo Hayes Lions.

The next round of the playoffs will see conference teams cross over at the home fields of the higher placing teams.


High school playoffs in soccer, football

The torrential rains which hit the Maritime region on the weekend didn't just prove to be a nuisance for those out and about.

The residual effect is wreaking havoc on high school soccer and football playoffs scheduled for later this week.

Executive director Peter Corby says he's beside himself trying to reschedule junior and senior varsity soccer tournaments in the wake of the south west junior boys regionals being washed out and playing fields rendered unplayable as a result of games that were played despite the weather.

The first round of the provincial high school 12-man football playoffs are also scheduled for Friday and Saturday, but there's some question about a playing field for the south west matchup between fourth seed Fredericton High School Black Kats and top seed Oromocto High School Blues.

MacKenzie Field, the normal venue for OHS and the site of last Saturday's season finale which saw OHS finish at 6-1 with a 38-0 win over Hampton High Huskies, is a muddy quagmire and will be used only as a last resort, says OHS athletic director Jeff Kirkbride.

As of last night, the plan was to try and play the game on Friday night at the UNB's turf field, Chapman Field, either at 4 o'clock. Kirkbride said it was dependent on being able to get officials lined up. OHS head coach Rob Wilson said last night it appears that won't be a problem.

If it turns out to be, they'll play the game at MacKenzie Field despite the condition of the field on Saturday afternoon at 1 o'clock. He says it wouldn't be fair to his team to play the game at Fredericton High School.

The other south west matchup between second place Saint John High Greyhounds and third place Leo Hayes High Lions will be played at Millidgeville Field on Friday night. It's a rematch of last week's regular season finale in Saint John, won 49-18 by the Greyhounds. Winners meet in the conference final the following weekend.

The East conference matchups feature top seed MacNaughton High hosting fourth seed Harrison Trimble Trojans and second seed Riverview High Royals hosting third seed Moncton High Purple Knights on Friday night.

The south-west junior boys AAA soccer regionals originally scheduled last weekend in Edmundston will be played tonight in Woodstock with Cites des Jeunes of Edmundston playing Rothesay High in one semifinal and Kennebecasis Valley taking on Carleton North Stars of Bristol in the other.

Semifinal winners automatically qualify for the four-team provincial junior boys championship slated for the weekend. The semifinal winners will play on Wednesday in the west site to determine the top seed from the south west. The loser will be the second seed and will play the top seed from the north east in one provincial semifinal. The top seed from the south west plays the second seed from the north east in the other semifinal on Saturday.

Both games are scheduled for noon in Fredericton with one going at FHS Field and the other at Leo Hayes Field. The winners meet for the provincial junior boys title Saturday night beginning 6 o'clock at Chapman Field.

Also going on in the city Saturday is the south west senior girls AAA regional tournament featuring west top seed Fredericton High and second seed Leo Hayes High. FHS meets the winner of St. Stephen vs. Kennebecasis in regional semifinal action Saturday at 10 a.m. at FHS Field with Leo Hayes taking on the St. Stephen/KV loser in the other semifinal at 10 a.m. at Leo Hayes Field.

Winners meet at 3:30 at Chapman Field to determine the top two seeds for the provincial tournament scheduled Nov. 6 in Caraquet.

Securing the top seed from the east in boys AA soccer were the Minto High Tigers, defeating MFR of St. Louis de Kent 1-0 in the regional final. Curtis Murray had the only goal the Tigers would need. Jason Geneau recorded the shutout. The Tigers finished the regular season with a 7-0-0 mark.

In south conference varsity boys AA soccer action Monday, Rothesay Netherwood School Riverhawks defeated Harvey High Lakers 3-0 with Matthieu McConnell-Morin scoring all three goals. Pat Tozer recorded the shutout.