Centennial’s “Mr. Everything”
Robbie Pereira is listed as a wide receiver on the Centennial Cougars roster, but the 16-year-old Grade 11 student does so much more than just catch the ball.
Pereira ran for a 15-yard touchdown from the backfield, lined up as a receiver and also did a solid job as a defensive back as the Cougars topped the Governor Simcoe Redcoats 21-3 in Niagara Region High School Athletic Association Tier 2 senior football action Thursday afternoon at Centennial in Welland.
The Cougars, who were coming off a big 27-7 win over the defending Tier 2 champion Thorold Golden Eagles last week, are now 2-0.
The Redcoats dropped to 1-1 after defeating Grimsby 16-10 in overtime in their season-opener last week.
Pereira feels the more the better, as far as time on the field.
“I love it. I like to get as many reps as I can and do as much for my team,” he said. “I’m always hungry and want to get into the end zone, get a pick.
“I want to do everything.”
Pereira looked a little winded after the game, but feels that’s just part of the price to pay for playing on both sides of the ball.
“It gets tiring in the fourth quarter, but our coaches do good cardio drills so I’m always good,” he said. “I’m always ready.”
Pereira prefers the offensive side of the field.
“I think I’m better at slot even though I didn’t have the best catches today. The next game, I’m going off.”
Pereira tried out for the football team in Grade 9 but didn’t see the field. He got into some game action last season and worked overtime to be able to contribute this year.
“I just put in the work. It is difficult if you’re lazy, but I came out every day with my quarterback and worked and worked and worked, and now we’re here.”
Cougars coach Dom Nero appreciates Pereira’s work ethic and versatility.
“He’s one of our four captains,” Nero said. “He does it all. He is a little bit of Mr. Everything.
“He’s a guy who stands out and always seems to be in the right spot.”
Nero is relying heavily on his seniors this season.
“It’s sort of a unique situation because of our senior numbers. We’re junior heavy. We only have 17 seniors, so a lot of those guys have to be a little bit of everything.”
The Cougars led 7-3 at the half before adding majors in each of the third and fourth quarters.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” Nero said. “For two weeks now, that’s been our problem. If we ever figure out a way to stop that it will be a lot tougher for teams to come in here and beat us.
“We have to clean up those mistakes because those are the mistakes come October and November, that’s what you’re facing the competition at their best.”
Redcoats coach Jamie Brophy lamented his squad’s inability to execute.
“We were dropping a lot of passes. If we catch a couple of those. . . . In Canadian football, you have to execute. You can’t start second down and 10 every time and we were because we were dropping passes,” he said.
The game was marred by a barrage of penalty calls to both sides.
“There were a lot, whether it was jumping offside or a hold, but I just don’t think we helped ourselves all game long,” Brophy said. “We’d create a little and then get killed. When we did execute, we were against the wind and struggling. When we had the wind and should have taken advantage of it, we didn’t do well.”
Cougars 21 Redcoats 3
Johnny Rocco’s/Mick and Angelo’s Star of the Game: Centennial receiver Robbie Pereira with a rushing touchdown and solid play on both sides of the ball.
Centennial Cougars: Pereira 15-yard rushing touchdown; Ethan Cardwell, blocked punt and 40-yard rush for a touchdown; Garvin Leavens, 40-yard rushing touchdown. Dominic McIntosh, three extra points.
Governor Simcoe Redcoats: Danny Lewis 37-yard field goal; interception on defence.
Through the air: Centennial’s Ethan Robertson 4-for-12 with one interception; Simcoe’s Andrew Scott 5-for-16; Gabe DiSanto 0-for-2.
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