By CLAUDE SCILLEY
Frontenac Falcons had to make adjustments in a couple of different respects Thursday afternoon.
First there were technical concerns to correct arising from their season-opening loss last week to the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers. Then, there was the matter of replacing two experienced receivers, Jake Magee and Braeden North, both of whom were injured in the aforementioned contest at Regi.
In both aspects, the Falcons achieved success. Improved defensive play meant the Napanee Golden Hawks didn’t get out of their own end of the field until the very end of the ball game. Also, reserve Frontenac receivers scored two touchdowns, as the defending AAA champion pinned a 37-7 defeat on the visiting Hawks.
The outcome left both teams 1-1 in Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association play.
In Thursday’s other game, the Ernestown Eagles improved to 2-0 as they handed the Sydenham Golden Eagles their second-straight defeat, 11-9, at Caraco Field.
At Frontenac, the game was close through most of the first quarter, with the Falcons nursing a 7-0 lead after a touchdown run by Liam Reid. Tristan Halladay then returned a punt for a touchdown that gave the home team a 14-0 lead.
Halladay’s first of three field goals, in the second quarter, sent Frontenac into halftime with a 17-0 lead.
After Halladay’s other field goals, of 28 and 22 yards, gave the Falcons a 23-0 lead, two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one on a 20-yard pass from Brendan Steele to Kevin Toussaint, the other late in the game on a 12-yard pass by backup quarterback Jake McCarthy to reserve receiver Brock Glaude, completed the scoring for the Falcons.
Napanee mounted its only sustained drive of the game in the final minute, marching about 80 yards to score on a short pass from quarterback Nick Martin to Liam Wheeler on the second-last play of the game.
Frontenac coach Mike Doyle said his team’s special teams play was improved from the previous week.
“We had good field position from our punt return team and we had a couple of good, long punts,” he said. “Our defence improved; in particular our secondary had a better day.
“It was a better effort, although there are still things to iron out, like assignments. A couple of times in the first quarter we didn’t have the right personnel on (the field) for special teams. It’s still a young group getting used to three-down football.”
Doyle said there are probably more Grade 11 students starting for the senior Falcons than in recent seasons, and the injuries from a week ago necessitated some shuffling.
“We’re having guys fill spots,” he said. “A couple had really good days. Brock Glaude had a good day at receiver. He dropped one in the end zone but then he made a great catch in the fourth quarter.”
Glaude, a first-year senior, has played club ball with the Kingston Grenadiers. “We adjusted some things around and he ended up starting today,” Doyle said, “and I thought he played a real solid game.”
Halladay also had a fine game. In addition to the touchdown and field goals, he kicked four converts and returned an intercepted pass about 30 yards to set up one of his third-quarter field goals.
In a defensive struggle at Sydenham’s home away from home, Ernestown posted the first win in school history over the reigning AA champion Golden Eagles.
“It was a real defensive struggle. Both defences played extremely well,” Ernestown coach Lou Bilkovski said. “(Sydenham) would get some good runs and then we would tighten up and shut it down.
"Offensively, we didn’t move the ball as well as I was expecting. ”
Each team’s defensive performance was highlighted by a dramatic goal-line stand.
Facing third down from the Ernestown five-yard line, Sydenham was unsuccessful on the play but the Eagles were called for a penalty that gave Sydenham first-and-goal at the Ernestown one, but the Eagles held fast.
Their offence denied there, the Golden Eagles’ defence similarly stuffed Ernestown in the fourth quarter, after a penalty had given the green-shirted Eagles first down at the Sydenham two-yard line.
On a sunny but windy afternoon, Ernestown led 4-2 at halftime, on a rouge and a 20-yard field goal from Noah Baird. Fullback Jackson Boyes scored the Eagles’ touchdown in the third quarter on a short run, after back-to-back receptions by Josh Campbell, each of about 25 yards, that brought the ball to the Sydenham five-yard line.
Sydenham got its touchdown late in the game on a one-yard run by quarterback Kyle Compton. In the final 10 seconds, the Eagles tried for a field goal of about 40 yards with the wind, but it failed.
The victory gave Ernestown another school first: being 2-0 two weeks into the season.
“The boys are very excited,” Bilkovski said. “They feel great and they recognize that this was a huge milestone for us, to beat a quality team like Sydenham.”
Play resumes Friday, with Regi, 1-0, visiting La Salle, also 1-0, at 1 p.m. and Bayridge hosting Holy Cross, both 0-1, at 1:45.