Two of the most successful high school football programs in the province will put their current editions on the field Wednesday in one of the nine Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations AAA bowl games in Hamilton.
The Eastern Ontario champion Frontenac Secondary School Falcons will face the W.F. Herman Green Griffins of Windsor, the South West Ontario champions, in a game at Tim Hortons Field at 1 p.m.
This will be Frontenac’s seventh appearance in an OFSAA bowl game since 2007; the Falcons have won five of them, most recently last year, a 24-20 come-from-behind win over Toronto Richview in a game where two fourth-quarter touchdowns by Dustin Brogaard were decisive.
Herman, meanwhile, has won four OFSAA bowls since 2010, and is the No. 2-ranked team in the country, according to the website canadafootballchat.com.
Frontenac does not appear on that list, though its pedigree is as sound as any in the province: seven championships from nine appearances in the 14 years since Kingston Area teams began participating in the provincial series.
Those seven titles are the most by any school. St. Mary of Sault Ste. Marie has six.
The Falcons have produced two Yates Cup champion quarterbacks in that time—Adam Archibald and Marshall Ferguson, both at McMaster—among the many players who have gone on to successful intercollegiate football careers. Frontenac also launched the career of Grey Cup winning receiver Rob Bagg of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
No less of an authority than McMaster coach Stefan Ptaszek has spoken highly of the Frontenac program, describing it not long ago as “one of the more progressive offences you'll see at the high school level anywhere in the country.”
The Falcons advanced to the game with a 35-14 win over the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers in the Kingston Area triple-A championship game Nov. 14. The team has been idle since then, because there are no AAA schools in eastern Ontario beyond KASSAA.
In fact, the Falcons were reclassified as a AA school in June, but opted this year to remain in the higher classification.
Herman defeated Sarnia Northern 44-3 in the SWOSSAA championship game last Wednesday.
Among Herman’s more illustrious alumni is O.J. Atogwe, who attended Stanford and was a third-round choice in the 2005 NFL draft. He had a seven-year NFL career and now works as an analyst on TSN.
Tomorrow’s game is the second of three on the final day of the OFSAA bowl series. For many years the series consisted of five games played on a single day in Toronto, each of which crowned a regional champion. The format was changed in 2013 to eight games involving 16 regional champions with opponents determined at random, rendering the games invitational exhibitions. Last year, the pool was increased to 18 teams, adding two wild cards to the list of 16 regional titlists.