June 10 Niagara Spears report: Varsity and JV top Cambridge
The Niagara Bantam Spears football team lost 62-7 to the Cambridge Lions. Photo by Scotty Wood Photography.
The Niagara Varsity Spears football team pushed its Ontario Provincial Football League record to 3-2 with a 17-13 road victory over the Cambridge Lions Saturday night.
“Every game in the West Division is tough,” Spears head coach Brian Duguay said. “We need to establish the tempo of the game and play our game. At times, we play to our opponent and let them dictate the flow of the game.”
Duguay was happy with how his defence played.
“Our defence played strong, holding a good team off and only giving up 13 points,” he said. “(Our) offence seems to score in spurts and we need to be consistent.
“We will not score every play, but when the opportunities presents themselves, we have to take advantage and come away with some points.”
As usual, Duguay like his squad’s effort.
“This team doesn’t give up,” he said. “They play from the opening whistle to the last whistle. We need to play our game at 110 per cent every play.”
Against Cambridge, Niagara led 3-0 after one quarter on a 37-yard field goal by Cole MacKinnon.
“We played the first quarter a lot in the Cambridge side of the field and we couldn’t connect for a major,” Duguay said. “Both team’s defences played tough and kept the offence off their game plans.”
The Lions grabbed a 7-3 lead at the half on a 41-yard TD pass.
“We played a solid first half with a couple of mistakes that are correctable,” Duguay said. “The defence played a strong first half only giving up a couple of first downs and one touchdown.
“Offensively, we need to continue our drives and take advantage of the opportunities when we get in the red zone. We had some missed opportunities and couldn’t establish a run game.”
In the third quarter, both defences continue to play strong and the score was 7-3 Cambridge heading into the final quarter.
“We were able to move the ball and gain some first downs but then we would have a mistake or couldn’t open up any holes to get our running game going,” Duguay said.
Niagara broke through in the final quarter when Ryan James connected with Josh Lisi on TD passes of eight yards and 50 yards. Cambridge cut the lead to 17-13 with a touchdown with 5:31 left in the game.
Late in the game, Niagara forced a turnover on downs, allowing the Spears offence to take a knee at the end of the game.
Top performers on defence for Niagara were: Owen Jones, three solo tackles and five assisted tackles; Daniel Clarke, two solo tackles and three assisted tackles; Jesse Murphy, six assisted tackles; and, Christian Kuriata, one solo tackle and five assisted tackles
Leading Niagara on offence were: James, 18-for-33 passing for 258 yards and two TDs; Lisi, eight receptions for 103 yards and 2 TDs; and, MacKinnon, field goal and two converts.
The Spears travel to Durham (1-3) Saturday to take on the Dolphins.
JV SPEARS 19 LIONS 18
The fourth-place Niagara Junior Varsity Spears football team improved to 3-2 in OPFL play with a 19-18 road victory over the Cambridge Lions Friday night.
“It was a good game and the fans enjoyed it,” head coach Bill Crawford said. “Both teams played hard and they were a very classy organization.”
Niagara was led by a new starting quarterback Drake Somerville after previous starter Marshall McCray was lost for the season with a broken bone in his shoulder.
“He (McCray) was pretty much sitting at the top of the league in almost everything,” Crawford said. “It also looked like he was going to be the starting quarterback for Team Ontario and it’s really unfortunate that he is going to miss out on all those things.”
The Spears also lost Jacob Tessier this week, one of the team’s top offensive performers. Tessier is gone for the season after tearing some muscles in his hip while competing at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ track and field meet in Guelph.
Somerville played well for the Spears in McCray’s absence.
“It was a little rocky here and there, but that kid is tough,” Crawford said. “He took some punishment, but stepped up and threw for 300 yards.”
Somerville connected with Dayshawn Johnson for TD passes from 68 and 12 yards out. Johnson finished with five catches for 173 yards and Adrian D’Gyves Carpino had five catches for 101 yards.
Niagara’s other points came on a defensive safety, and a rouge and a 30-yard field goal by Johnson.
Leading Niagara on defence were Nick Ciriello, Josh Morley, Mexican exchange student Paco Del Real, Elijah Pappin and D.J. Shannon.
“It is a team win every week,” Crawford said. “We try to win two of the three (offence, defence and special teams) and this week we happened to be better in all three.”
The Spears are at the Durham Dolphins (1-3) Saturday.
LIONS 62 BANTAM SPEARS 7
The Niagara Bantam Spears football team felt to 0-4 in OPFL action with a 62-7 loss to the Cambridge Lions.
“Despite the loss, we had multiple players step up, filling in for injuries,” Spears head coach Kent Wakem said. “I am proud of the way our players conducted themselves on the field, not being goaded into unsportsmanlike conduct by the Cambridge Lions.”
Niagara’s major came on a 65-yard TD pass from Nick Jokic connected to Nick Longo.
Top defensive performers for Niagara were: Jackson Stewart, three solo tackles, three assisted tackles, one forced fumble and two deflected passes; Joey Dilse, two solo tackles and six assisted tackles; Elijah Mercer, two solo tackles and two assisted tackles; and, Wyatt Brown, two solo tackles and two assisted tackles.
The Bantam Spears visit the Hamilton Junior Ti-Cats (0-4) Sunday.