Hard to chase Bowden down: Spartans and Cougars win
A large portion of the Westlane Spartans senior football team’s attack revolves around 12B player Chase Bowden,
“He’s very athletic and we try to get him the ball as much as possible,” Westlane coach Jason Babony said.
That plan worked to perfection Friday against the visiting Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs as Bowden scored a career-high five touchdowns in a 49-0 victory by the Spartans in Niagara Region High School Athletic Association Tier 1 action.
“That is a first, but unfortunately I had three taken back (because of penalties),” the 5-foot-10, 185-pounder said. “But that’s OK. That happens.”
The 18-year-old running back feels he has improved his play this season.
“My ball carrying is better,” he said. “I’ve been working really hard on holding the ball tight, not letting anyone get to it and running strong south to get as many yards as I can.”
He’s also made progress in other areas as well.
“He has been at practice every day and he has taken on a leadership role,” Babony said. “If he carries that into the off-season, he will have a chance to play at the next level.”
Bowden missed some practices in previous years because of work commitments, but he has made football a priority this season as he strives to be a team leader.
“I like to keep everyone in check and they keep me in check,” he said. “We all stay accountable to each other.”
Bowden loves the makeup of the Spartans and says there will be no secret to success if they meet up with Greater Fort Erie in the semifinals.
“We have to do what we did last time,” he said. “We start off strong, we don’t let up, we keep our foot on the gas and we keep pounding.”
And the team must maintain in physical presence.
“What we are really good at as a team is punching people in the mouth,” Bowden said. “We keep hitting them until they give up and these kids are ruthless.
“I would not be doing what I am doing without my team. I get all the blocks and it is amazing.”
Churchill fell to 2-3 with the loss.
“We got thumped by a senior team,” Bulldogs head coach Peter Perron said. “We are playing with a varsity team — we have a lot of Grade 10s and 11s — and it’s a learning process.
“We will be 11s and 12s next year and we will be a lot better.”
Churchill doesn’t have the numbers to run a junior team and that makes things tough at the Tier 1 level.
“You want to have a program where you can run two teams, but you have to have the coaches and the players and there’s a shortage of both,” Perron said. “I am trying to create a cycle where it bottom feeds and you constantly have 11s and 12s, but you have to start somewhere.”
Assuming Myer beats Greater Fort Erie Friday night, it sets up a semifinal game between the Bulldogs and the Marauders.
“We have to play tough and we have to compete the best we can knowing it is going to be a learning process,” Perron said. “You never know.”
Again assuming Myer winning Friday night in Fort Erie, it was an important game for the Spartans, who improved to 4-1 with the victory.
“It was a big game to host in the (first round of) the playoffs,” Babony said. “We had a slow start, but once our kids get the nerves out we can hang with them.”
The Spartans chalked up 185 yards in penalties, but Babony wasn’t overly concerned with that statistic.
“There was a lot, but I am not going to complain about the penalties,” he said.
Spartans 49 Bulldogs 0
Mick and Angelo’s/Johnny Rocco’s Player of the Game: Westlane’s Chase Bowden with five TDs and three other majors that were called back because of penalties.
For the Westlane Spartans: Chase Bowden, TDS runs of 13, 58 and 34 yards, 20-yard and nine-yard (one-handed) TD receptions from Mike Osborne and two-point convert on run; Darcy MacIssac, 55-yard punt return for major; 56-yard TD catch from Osborne and two interceptions; interception by Josh Bigelow; and, fumble recovery by Owen Dobbin.
For the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs: interception by Ethan Chase.
Game stats: First downs: Westlane 13, Churchill 7. Net offence: Westlane 344, Churchill 75. Turnovers: Westlane 1, Churchill 6. Penalties: Westlane 20 for 185 yards, Churchill 8 for 50 yards.
COUGARS 18 EAGLES 14
The visiting Centennial Cougars improved to 1-4 in Tier 1 NRHSAA football action Friday with an 18-14 victory over the Grimsby Eagles (0-5).
Contributing to the win for Centennial were: Mike Thornton, 60-yard punt return TD: 10-yard TD pass from Kole Popat to Ethan Cardwell; 50-yard TD pass from Popat to Josh Boyle; and, Connor Dunn with a great game on defence.
Replying for Grimsby were: Justin Dawe-Meyers, two-yard TD run; 12-yard TD pass from Dawe-Meyers to Jordan Hvosda; Ty Mitchell, two sacks; and, Mitch Sokol and Gavin McIntyre, fumble recoveries.
Ryan Neudorf returned from injury and rushed for more than 150 yards for the Eagles.
“We’ll build off that,” Grimsby coach Zack Silverthorne said.