May 27 Niagara Spears report: Varsity and JV victorious
The Niagara Junior Varsity Spears football team defeated the Kingston Junior Gaels 29-13 Saturday. Photo by Scotty W Photography.
It was home sweet home for the Niagara Spears Junior Varsity team as it thumped the Kingston Junior Gaels 29-13 in its Ontario Provincial Football League home opener last Saturday afternoon at Kiwanis Field.
“The kids needed to get home,” Spears head coach Bill Crawford said. “All these bus rides were killing them. They don’t travel well.”
The Spears had dropped two road games to open the season.
“I thought we played a better team than the two previous teams that we had played,” he said. “We had some miscues as coaches and things that we didn’t take advantage of and, this week, we all got on the right page and looked like the team we could be.
“It’s kind of exciting going into the rest of the season.”
Crawford praised the work of offensive line coach Nick Woehl.
“The miracle he worked this week with the offensive line was unreal.”
The defence played great with 20 different players recording stats.
“As a unit, they had 11 passes defended and one interception,” Crawford said.
Top performers for the Spears were: Tal Ibrahim, 19 carries for 126 yards, including TD runs of seven and three yards; quarterback Marshall McCray, 51 yards rushing and a one-yard TD run, and 12-22 passing for 182 yards; Jacob Tessier, 100 receiving yards, including a 40-yard TD grab from McCray; Nicholas Ciriello, 60-yard interception return; great play by the defensive line led by Jacob Miller; Cameron Scott, great pass defence on Kingston’s top receiver and several tackles; strong defensive play by Elijah Pappin; and great blocking by receivers Javier Lewis and Dayshawn Johnson.
Niagara hosts Burlington Saturday at 4 p.m. at Kiwanis Field.
VARSITY SPEARS 47 JUNIOR GAELS 8
The Niagara Varsity Spears football team improved to 2-1 in OPFL play Saturday night with a 47-8 victory over the Kingston Junior Gaels.
“After last week where we played well but we were not able to finish off our drives and leave points on the field, we really stressed to the players that we need to convert on all opportunities when we get into the red zone,” head coach Brian Duguay said.
Chase Bowden led the way on offence for the Spears with a pair of rushing majors. Jerry Nyambiya added a rushing major for Niagara and TD grabs were made by Winfield Organ and Darcy MacIsaac. Rob Pryor blocked a punt and ran it back for a major. Cole MackInnon completed the scoring for Niagara with a field goal, a single and five converts
Leading the way for Niagara on defence were: Riley Lyons, four solo tackles, two assisted tackles , a fumble and an interception; Zachary Melnyk, three solo tackles and two assisted tackles; and, Zack Ayotte, three assisted tackles.
“I was really nice to see that the players were able to come out on the home opener and play a strong game in all three aspects of the game,” Duguay said. “This team has a lot of potential. They just need to believe and stay focused.”
Niagara hosts Burlington Saturday at 8 p.m.
DOLPHINS 38 BANTAM SPEARS 19
The Niagara Bantam Spears fell to 0-2 in OPFL action with a 38-19 loss to the visiting Durham Dolphins.
“We struggled early in the game finding our groove on both sides of the ball,” head coach Kent Wakem said. “Mental errors hurt us early on in the game, causing a turnover in the red zone, and by the time we were able to recover it was too late.”
Wakem liked that his team didn’t quit.
“Our players showed a ton of heart out there late in the game, scoring one touchdown late in the third quarter and two more in the fourth quarter,” he said.
Ryan Broome starred on both sides of the ball for the Spears.
“He showcased very well during the game and helped give our other players the late-game boost needed to close the gap by half,” he said.
Leading the offence for the Spears were: Jackson Stewart, who connected with Nick Longo on a 79-yard TD pass; Broome, nine carries for 44 yards, including three-yard and six-yard TD runs; and, Jack Wilson, 11 rushes for 35 yards.
Top performers on defence for Niagara were: Mathew Gichard, two solo tackles and seven assisted tackles; Broome, two solo tackles and two assisted tackles; and, Cole Haan, quarterback sack and three assisted tackles.
Niagara hosts Ottawa Saturday at noon at Kiwanis Field.