Irish juniors advance to Metro Bowl semifinals
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish junior football used a smothering defence Tuesday to defeat the St. John’s Eagles 42-6 in the Metro Bowl quarter-finals at McMaster University.
Notre Dame had advanced to the quarter-finals on the same field last week with a 63-6 victory over Westlane, the Niagara Region High School Athletic Association champions.
“Defensively, we have been very strong with good tackling, good reads and good reactions but the one thing that hinders us is the fact that we often penalize ourselves too often,” Notre Dame head coach Dan Carter said.
Against St. John’s, the Irish had 11 penalties for 90 yards.
“Unfortunately when you play against better teams, that’s the stuff that really prevents you from taking it to the next level,” Carter said. “I applaud them for the game today because we did good things on offence and good things on defence and we’re proud to move forward and play some good teams in Ontario.
“But at the end of the day, we want to try and get a little bit better.”
One player who doesn’t need to be too much better is Irish quarterback Jake Tessier. The Grade 10 player threw four touchdown passes in the game and helped lead Notre Dame to 308 net yards of offence.
“He’s very athletic, very smart and he does what we ask him to do,” Carter said. “And sometimes he finds something out of nothing. It’s always great to have that playmaker who is able to do that because it advances the downs.”
The 15-year-old was happy with his play Tuesday.
“This is my second year at quarterback and this game was huge,” he said. “This was the first time I faced adversity against a pretty good defence, The way our O line, receivers and whole offence came together in the second half was great.
“We brought it and came back strong.”
Tessier feels fortunate to even be playing football at Notre Dame. He missed almost the entire Niagara Spears season after fracturing his hip at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field meet.
“I have been back since October,” he said. “It was supposed to be a four-month recovery but I pushed it to three months and came back pretty early.”
He was motivated by his desire to play high school football.
“It’s my Grade 10 year and I knew we had a good team coming back based on our season last year,” he said. “It’s a great group of guys and I have been playing with them since I was seven.”
Fighting Irish 42 Eagles 6
Mick and Angelo’s/Johnny Rocco’s/Cracker Jacks Player of the Game: Notre Dame’s Jake Tessier with four touchdown passes.
For the Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Tessier with TD passes to Adrienne Dgyves (15 yards), Deshawn Johnson (49 yards), Owen Borutski (nine yards) and Nick Longo (29 yards) and two-point convert on pass to Dgyves; 45-yard punt return TD by Johnson; five-yard TD run by Nick Ciriello; Ciriello and Dgyves with interceptions; fumble recoveries by Brayden Snider (2) and Gavin Hill; and, sack by Ben Ianizzi.
For the St. John’s Eagles: 33-yard TD run by Marco DiNino.
Game stats: First downs: Notre Dame 13, St. John’s 5. Net offence: Notre Dame 308 , St. John’s 67. Turnovers: Notre Dame 5, St. John’s 10. Penalties: Notre Dame 11 for 90 yards, St. John’s 3 for 0 yards.
Up next: Notre Dame plays Saturday at York University in the Metro Bowl semifinals against a yet-to-be determined opponent.