Eagles top Redcoats in overtime
Grimsby’s Ryan Neudorf (32) rushes the ball against the Governor Simcoe Redcoats.
It was no surprise Thursday’s football playoff game between the Governor Simcoe Redcoats and Grimsby Eagles was decided in overtime.
Governor Simcoe won the teams’ regular season meeting 16-10 in overtime before the Eagles earned their revenge with a 15-14 overtime victory in Niagara Region High School Athletic Association Tier 2 semifinal play.
Governor Simcoe led 1-0 at the half and 7-0 after three quarters before Grimsby rallied to force overtime.
The overtime format for high school football is to have each team start from 35 yards out until a winner is decided. The Redcoats were stopped on their first possession. Grimsby won it when Reece Baltus punted the ball through the end zone after the ball was scrimmaged from the 16-yard line.
“We knew this was going to be a war and it was going to come down to who was going to be tougher and last longer at the end,” Grimsby head coach Zack Silverthorne said. “They had five or six guys who play iron man (offence and defence) the whole time and I thought if we kept it close, we could wear them down.”
The Redcoats had 134 yards net offence in the first half compared to 63 for Grimsby, but the tables turned somewhat in the second half. The Eagles chalked up 266 yards offence and 14 first downs in the second half while holding the Redcoats to 148 yards and five first downs.
“We took some risks in the second half,” Silverthorne said. “It’s high school and you get a little bit of momentum and all of a sudden everyone is not hurt any more.”
Leading the Grimsby attack like he has done all season was running back Ryan Neudorf, who finished with 16 carries for 120 yards.
“He’s smart, fast, works out the hardest, trains the hardest and he leads by example,” Silverthorne said. “He is a great guy.”
Neudorf has only played football for three seasons and his play has caught the eye of the McMaster Marauders.
“He has improved his vision the most,” Silverthorne said. “He always had the speed and the strength and now he knows how to play football.”
Neufeld was an easy convert to the sport of football when he started his Grade 10 year.
“Our team hadn’t had a team in six years and when South Lincoln merged with us, I thought football was awesome,” the 16-year-old said. “I have always loved physical sports and I wanted to try football.”
He became a running back out of necessity.
“I started out as a slotback who knew absolutely nothing about it and then one day our running back got hurt and I had to take over,” the six-foot 175-pound player said. “I have stuck there ever since.”
He has evolved into the player he is today.
“I had nothing to begin with so I got a little bit better at everything,” the 16-year-old said. “I had no idea how to read plays or anything and I had to learn all the terminology. I started from nothing.”
He’s hoping to play football at the next level.
“As long as I can play football, that’s the dream.”
Governor Simcoe head coach Jamie Brophy saw his team’s dream of a championship season end and he tipped his hat to the play of the Eagles.
“They battled really hard and Grimsby played a great game in tough conditions and they made some big plays when they needed to at the end,” he said. “It’s tough to lose in overtime but that’s football and congratulations to Grimsby.”
The Redcoats went 4-1 in regular season play and Brophy was happy with his team’s ongoing development,
“We’re building and we still have a lot of kids coming back next year which is great,” Brophy said. “We had a great season and we are just hoping to continue building year after year to get the program back to where we are always contending for championships.”
Eagles 15 Redcoats 14 (OT)
Mick and Angelo’s/Johnny Rocco’s/Cracker Jacks Player of the Game: Grimsby’s Ryan Neudorf with 16 carries for 120 yards.
For the Grimsby Eagles: Even Reece, two one-yard QB sneaks for TDs; game-winning rouge in overtime by Reece Baltus.
For the Governor Simcoe Redcoats: 75-yard TD pass to Max Grant from Gabe DiSanto; two-yard TD run and single point on punt by Remy Gavanac; and, Nicholas Spanyi with an interception.
Game stats: First downs: Grimsby 17, Simcoe 9. Net offence: Grimsby 329, Simcoe 286. Turnovers: Grimsby 1, Simcoe 1. Penalties: Grimsby 8 for 90 yards, Simcoe 7 for 58 yards.
Up next: Grimsby plays the winner of Centennial and Thorold in the NRHSAA Tier 2 final.