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Sydenham stuns defending champion Falcons in senior football opener
Posted: September 18th, 2014 @ 10:37pm
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
Sometimes, it helps just not to know any better.
"It's funny, because as a coaching staff we were just figuring that was about our third win ever with our little group," Sydenham Golden Eagles coach Mike Love said Thursday night, as he and his colleagues reviewed the video of his team's 35-8 victory over the defending champion Frontenac Falcons on the opening day of the senior high school football season.
"We kind of jumped in around '04 or '05," he continued, "and in about 10 years that may be the third time we've beaten them, but the kids don't know that. We have Grade 11s who have just come off an undefeated season and some Grade 12s who, the year before that, also had a good year. They don't remember that.
"They don't know the history as we know the history, so they're just playing."
Indeed, they played well Thursday, capitalizing on an uncharacteristic spate of Frontenac mistakes, as two Falcons fumbles and an interception ultimately led to Sydenham scores.
Sydenham's Sam Moyse scored two touchdowns in the final minute of the first half to turn a nine-point ball game into a potential rout.
"We weren't sure what to expect," Love said. "There was a possibility of looking good, but we also knew there was a possibility of not looking very good, either.
"I knew our offence was going to do fairly well. Frontenac generally has a pretty stout defence but Dylan Fisher had a really wonderful summer with the Grenadiers, and we have a couple of solid running backs, so I knew that we were going to move the ball and hopefully score some points.
"I really was unsure how we would do defensively. Frontenac always offers a pretty big handful; they've always got multiple things up their sleeve and usually really good athletes executing them and I didn't know how we were going to respond to that. I was happy with how it went, and the turnovers helped, for sure, as well."
Fisher had a splendid game, throwing four touchdown passes, 60-yard scoring strikes to Mike Bashall in the first quarter and to Moyse in the second. Chris White caught an 11-yard TD pass early in the second quarter that gave his team a 14-8 lead and Moyse caught another ball just before halftime.
"We came up against a real strong passing attack," Frontenac coach Mike Doyle said. "That first ball he threw deep (to Bashall) was just a beautiful mid-arc ball. It wasn't a Hail Mary or a lob. It was tracking the while way. Hit him right in the mittens and away he went.
"That kid is sharp, and his receiving corps is good, too. They've got speed on us (and) we're short on experience, in the secondary in particular. That was evident. We've got three kids in the secondary that was their first game of senior football. It was a real eye-opener."
Fisher even displayed poise when not completing a pass. On a play in the first half where he turned left to hand off the ball and the back went to his right, instead of trying to scramble and make something of the broken play, he calmly took a step back and threw the ball to a vacant spot downfield. It was typical of the methodical, error-free ball Sydenham played.
Both coaches acknowledged Sydenham's 14-point explosion at the end of the first half was pivotal.
"For sure, when the offence puts some points on the board it's a little easier to relax a bit and get into your game," Love said, "(but) we told the kids at halftime that Frontenac's a team that can do that to us just as easily, and very quickly, if we relax and start patting ourselves on the back too much. We had to make sure that we kept doing the things that we were doing well in the first half and ignore the score.
"It's a lot easier to have that talk when you have just put up 14 (points) near the end."
It was not something from which Frontenac, with two rookie running backs and a quarterback who was not 100 per cent, was likely to recover.
"We kind of bounced back after the first big one and we had a nice drive but we ended up having to punt," Doyle said. "Then, boom, boom. It took the wind out of our sails.
"It went from a game where we had a chance to come back into it to a game where, unless we did something special to start the second half, it was going to be out of reach."
The loss was Frontenac's first in KASSAA play since 2011.
"Hats off to them," Doyle said. "They played really well."
Bashall added four converts, two field goals and a single off a missed field goal to complete the Sydenham scoring. Braeden North kicked a single on the opening kickoff and he later converted Frontenac's only touchdown, a first-quarter score by Connor O'Neil on a pass from Rob Magee.
The game was called with 8:39 to play in the fourth quarter after an ambulance was called to tend to a Frontenac player who suffered a neck injury. Ty Sands was discharged from Emergency shortly thereafter when it was confirmed the injury was a strained muscle.
In Thursday's other Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior contest, the combined team of Kingston and Queen Elizabeth collegiates defeated the Napanee Golden Hawks 17-8 at Winston Chuchill Public School. The Hawks are returning to senior competition after a one-year hiatus.
In games Friday, the Ernestown Eagles, last year's AA champions who are moving up to AAA this year, will visit the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers at 4:45 p.m., and the Holy Cross Crusaders will host the Bayridge Blazers at 5:15.
The league's other team, La Salle, will begin its regular schedule next Wednesday, at home against Regi.
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