Mustangs QB sparks team
Saint Michael’s senior football quarterback Zack Keldson didn’t look like he was playing his first regular season game of 2018 Friday.
The 12B student turned in a mistake-free performance to spark the visiting Mustangs to a 23-3 victory over the Lakeshore Catholic Gators in Niagara Catholic Athletic Association play.
Keldson had two long runs for first downs and a 57-yard TD pass to Riley Hart to lead the team’s offence.
“There’s a lot of things I like about Zack,” Saint Michael head coach Keith Bomberry said. “I have coached him for five years and he makes good decisions, especially in this game, holding the ball and not forcing it.
“He throws the ball well and he is really getting a hang of the read option game.”
The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder came back for his Victory Lap for academic reasons and to play hockey and football for the Mustangs. He is in his second year as a quarterback at Saint Michael’s.
“I have always loved football and my uncle was a quarterback so I kind of followed in his footsteps,” he said. “I just stepped up and tried to fill the role.”
He feels he made improvements since his first season.
“I feel like I am a lot more comfortable in the pocket and I am trusting my arm in getting the ball to my receivers,” he said. “And I’m also getting better with my reads and read options thanks to my coaches.”
As a veteran player, he knows leadership is part of his job description.
“I love it and I embrace it,” he said.
Keldson likes Saint Michael’s chances this season.
“We have a really good group of guys and we have quite a few 12Bs coming back and a couple of Grade 11 studs,” he said. “We are going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.”
Bomberry was pleased to start the season in the win column.
“It was a very good win, but it was a very slow start and messy,” he said. “We have a lot of things to clean up, especially on offence, and the defence played a heckuva game.
“We forced five turnovers, including one for a score, and that was the difference right there.”
There was a lot to build on from Friday’s game.
“It was a momentum builder, but we have to fix up a couple of things with the run game and work on techniques, skills and running the right routes,” Bomberry said. “And I don’t know how many objectionable conduct calls and false starts we had.”
Heading into Friday’s game, Lakeshore head coach Bernie Tessier was worried about how crisp his team would be considering it hadn’t played an exhibition game. Those fears were realized.
“It definitely showed and we made a lot of mistakes,” he said. “I don’t know what you had (12 for 90 yards), but we had a lot of penalties.
“We will make sure we have exhibition games next year.”
There were a number of positives from the game.
“We have a lot of guys in new positions that hadn’t played football before and we gave a lot of young guys an opportunity.” Tessier said. “I thought until halftime we played pretty neck-and-neck and it got away from us in the second half but I thought our defence played really well.”
Saint Michael had great field position all game and Lakeshore hung tough led by the play of Andre Lafleur Lafleur, who ended the game with three sacks.
“He’s a great player,” Tessier said. “He is always running hot and he had a great game defensively and played some fullback for us.
“He played really well and a lot of other guys played really well too.”
Mustangs 23 Gators 3
Mick and Angelo’s/Johnny Rocco’ Player of the Game: Saint Michael’s quarterback Zack Keldson with two long runs for first downs and a 57-yard TD pass to Riley Hart.
For the Saint Michael’s Mustangs: Hart, TD; one-yard TD run by Kemuel Jones; five-yard fumble recovery return for TD by Franky Pelligrino; Hayden Spelier, sack; safety conceded by Lakeshore offence; Gabe Hetherington and Idris Iwab, interceptions; Clayton Roberti, sack.
For the Lakeshore Catholic Gators: Nathaniel Riel, 22-yard field goal; Andre Lafluer, three sacks; Connor Ryerse, sack.
Game stats: First downs: SM 9, LC 4. Net offence: SM 169, LC 106. Turnovers: SM 0, LC 5. Penalties: SM 15 for 120 yards, LC 12 for 90 yards.