Myer 12Bs one win from redemption
Count Matteo Corritore among A.N. Myer’s 12B football players seeking redemption.
“We haven’t won and we have something to prove because everyone thinks we are the underdogs,” the 18-year-old said Friday, after recording two interceptions and a TD to help the Marauders defeat the visiting Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs 52-0 in the Niagara Region High School Athletic Association Tier 1 championship game. “We like being the underdogs and the 12B group here has something to prove.”
Those 12Bs are looking to write a final chapter that sees them going out as winners.
“It bugs all of us, for sure, because we didn’t win in Grade 10 (junior) when we could have, we didn’t win in Grade 11 when we could have and we didn’t win in Grade 12 when we could have, so this year we’ve got to make it happen,” Corritore said.
That desire to make it happen means doing things differently. Not a single Myer football player touched the NRHSAA trophy and the championship team photo was taken with the trophy on a table.
“We wanted to switch it up because the last three years we touched the trophy so this year we are not touching it,” Corritore said. “We think it has some bad juju so we are going to do what we can to stay away from it.”
As his high school career winds down, he is savouring every moment.
“That is why this game was important to me,” Corritore said. “It’s my last game on this field as a 12B and it meant everything so I had to come out there and do what I could to get the team going.”
The slotback/safety had attracted interest from a number of university scouts and would love to play at the next level.
‘Whoever approaches me, I will gladly listen to what they have to say and go down for a visit or whatever they want,” he said.
Churchill gave up a 50-yard kick return on the first play of the game and after going three and out on their first possession, Myer scored two plays later on a 66-yard pass completion from Will Jackman to Corritore. By halftime, Myer led 35-0 and the game was effectively over.
“I have a lot of respect for what Churchill is doing and I just think we were ready to play,” Myer head coach Dave Buchanan said. “You see that when teams jump on you. They had a bad break on the first play of the game and when you get up on people, it’s tough.
“Our defence can pin its ears back and we can play aggressive. The score doesn’t necessarily indicate how good that team is.”
The Marauders have shown how good they have been all season and they’ve done it despite a rash of injuries. Talented defensive end Tucker Lynch was hurt even before the season started. They lost star running back Jerry Nyambiya to a broken arm in the first exhibition game of the season. Then their second string running back, Jordan Gilbert, was also lost for the season after showing he was more than a capable starter.
“I don’t know if people understand and they probably don’t care but our team has faced a lot to adversity this year,” Buchanan said. ‘We are really fortunate to have the depth and the kids prepare and they take it seriously when they are at practice.”
Third-string running back Zorique Olayori was next man up Friday and he did a good job as well.
“He knows the playbook and it’s not just knowing it this week,” Buchanan said. “He knows it because he paid attention and he asked for reps in practice.”
That attention to detail is part of the Myer football culture.
“I am very fortunate the kids are able to do it and I mentioned it tonight that the reason they are doing so well is that they buy into the amount of reps they have to do,” Buchanan said. ”That is the expectation here and we are proud of it.”
Myer will now battle for Niagara football supremacy against another excellent football culture.
“We know that Notre Dame is a really good team and we have a lot of respect for them,” Buchanan said. “Their coaching staff is solid and they’ve historically been one of the best programs around for the last 50 years.
“They are big and strong and we are going to have to execute well.”
Buchanan agrees discipline will likely be the key to victory.
“You are facing a very good team on either side and if you make mistakes, teams will take advantage of it,” he said. “We’ve been on the other side the last two years where we had moments that we couldn’t afford. And they can’t either.”
Churchill head coach Peter Perron described the championship game as good learning experience for his squad.
“We don’t graduate a lot of guys, we had the injury bug from last week and a lot things took us out of the game,” he said.
The Bulldogs, who would have been in for a battle with a 100 per cent healthy lineup, went into the championship game missing starters at quarterback, running back and linebacker (two).
“That’s tough trying to get to the level we needed to get to (to play Myer) with guys coming off of injuries,” Perron said. “There weren’t enough reps.”
But with three starters in Grade 9, getting to the championship game will pay dividends moving forward.
“It tells us where we need to get to but we are going to get there,” Perron said. “We have changes that we have already started to implement and we know what we need to do.
“We know what we need to work on.”
Marauders 52 Bulldogs 0
Mick and Angelo’s/Johnny Rocco’s/Cracker Jacks Player of the Game: A.N. Myer’s Mateo Corritore with two interceptions and a 66-yard TD catch from Will Jackman.
For the A.N. Myer Marauders: Corritore, two picks and a TD; Trent Hunter, 21-yard TD run, 48-yard TD catch from Jackman, one-yard TD run and five-yard TD run; Winfield Organ, 50-yard kick return for a TD; Jacob Burke, nine-yard TD run; 22-yard field goal by Chris Bechkos.
For the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs: Fumble recovery by Tinashe Buckenham-Dziva.
Game stats: Game stats: First downs: Myer 13, Churchill 5. Net offence: Myer 394, Churchill 40. Turnovers: Myer 1, Churchill 5. Penalties: Myer 11 for 115 yards, Churchill 5 for 55 yards.
Up next: A.N. Myer plays Notre Dame for the Niagara championship Thursday at 7 p.m., at Kiwanis Field in St. Catharines.