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Crusaders claim second place with victory in MacLeod Memorial
Posted: October 24th, 2013 @ 11:15pm
Frontenac Falcons will host the Sydenham Golden Eagles and the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers will visit the Holy Cross Crusaders in Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior football AAA semifinals Tuesday.
Those pairings were confirmed Thursday night when the Crusaders defeated Regi 16-8 in the Bill MacLeod Memorial football game for the Catholic Cup at Caraco Field in the final game of the regular schedule.
Earlier, Sydenham had stormed from behind with 22 fourth-quarter points to defeat the Ernestown Eagles 32-31 at Odessa, and Frontenac completed an undefeated season with a 22-8 win over the La Salle Black Knights.
Holy Cross, winner of four of its last five after dropping its season opener to Sydenham, finished in second place. La Salle, also 4-2 but an 18-0 loser to Holy Cross in the regular year, has a first-round bye in the double-A playoffs.
Regi and Sydenham both finished at 3-3, with Regi being favoured in the tie-breaker by virtue of a 16-4 win over the Golden Eagles Sept. 26.
Ernestown, 1-5, and Bayridge, 0-6, will play in the AA semfinal game, also Tuesday, at Odessa.
In the night game at the Invista Centre, Regi led 8-7 in the second quarter when Crusaders quarterback Jeremy Pendergast carried across the goal line for a touchdown that put his team ahead to stay. A safety, on a snap that was fired over the head of the Regi punter and out of the end zone, gave Holy Cross a 16-8 lead before halftime and that's the way it stayed.
Each team was stopped at the opponent's goal line in the second half. Regi's best chance to score came with about eight and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, when the Panthers gambled on third down from the Holy Cross two-yard line but were denied the end zone.
Regi later had another opportunity, facing third and inches from the Holy Cross 32-yard line, but Nick Carriere's 40-yard field goal attempt was wide.
Holy Cross coach Tim Pendergast tipped his hat to the Regi defence.
"They are a tough team," he said. "They have four really good defensive players in Nick Zanet, David Hron, Connor Tobin and Tyler Ling, and they're scrappy."
Though the game was sluggish, delayed as it was by numerous injuries - taking almost two and a half frigid hours to play - Pendergast said it was an important victory, nonetheless.
"I think we needed that more than they did," he said. "Both teams are trying to get to the level of Frontenac.
"For a long time we were almost nipping at the heels of Frontenac and have kind of gone backwards in the last three years. Regi's program has been building for the last five years. I think this will help stop the downslide for us a little more than (it might hurt Regi). Their program is only going to get stronger."
The prospect of playing the Panthers again in five days presents some interesting challenges for the Crusaders. "They schemed really well," Pendergast said, noting as an example the problems Holy Cross had getting punts away, as Regi blocked two of them in the first half.
"We had huge problems," he said. "They blocked two and they weren't even tough blocks. They were coming like we were Swiss cheese. We have to figure out how to make the necessary changes and go from there."
In a back-and-forth battle at Ernestown, it appeared the home team was on its way to perhaps the most significant victory in the history of the school's young senior program when Casey Erkan scored a touchdown late in the third quarter, to give the Eagles a 21-10 lead.
In a game marked by several long scoring plays, the teams then began to trade touchdowns with first Sydenham's Thomas Withey and then Ernestown's Spencer Griffin scoring majors. A touchdown by Sydenham's Sam Moyse, a two-point convert pass to Withey from Dylan Fisher and a field goal by Ernestown's Hayden McDonald had the home team ahead 31-25 in the final minute, when Sydenham's Nate Thompson scored his second touchdown of the game.
Kurtis MacComish booted the game-winning convert.
Konner Burtenshaw scored the first two Ernestown touchdowns, one on a 75-yard run in the first quarter and the other on a 60-yard pass from quarterback Josh Campbell in the third.
In the game at Frontenac, the Falcons opened a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter but the Knights hung tough at 15-8 until well into the second half.
Harry Robinson, the Falcons' splendid defensive back and kick return man, scored all three of his team's touchdowns. Pressed into duty in the backfield in the absence of the injured running back Dustin Brogaard, Robinson scored all three majors on short runs.
Quarterback Tim Wight scored the La Salle touchdown.
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