Patriots advance to NCAA final
Javier Lewis scored three t0uchdowns to pace the Saint Paul Patriots past the Blessed Trinity Thunder Thursday. Photo by: BILL POTRECZ
Javier Lewis did it all for the Saint Paul Patriots Thursday.
The 18-year-old, Grade 12B student scored three touchdowns — one on a run, one on a catch from quarterback Matthew Murray and the other on a punt return — as the Patriots defeated the visiting Blessed Trinity Thunder 42-3 in a Niagara Catholic Athletic Association senior boys football playoff semifinal game.
The Pats will now take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the NCAA crown Friday, Nov. 12 on their home field.
Lewis also plays defence and didn’t come off the field for the first half.
“It’s pretty difficult but I got my boys out there,” he smiled.
Lewis, who said his preferred position is running back, noted preparation was the key to the Pats’ early dominance as they built a 21-0 lead after one quarter.
“If felt good,” he said. “We put in a lot of work. We were a small team before and we had to put in a lot of work for this.”
Lewis played for the Niagara Spears before the pandemic and is looking to play at the next level.
“I don’t know where I’m going yet; I’m just waiting for offers,” he said.
Seconds after concluding his interview with BPSN, Lewis was approached by a scout from Guelph University.
“He’s a better kid than he even is as a football player,” Saint Paul coach Rick Oreskovich said of Lewis. “Every practice, he never dogs it, even in the sprints he’s going 100 per cent.
“He’s as good as I’ve ever had and I’ve had some good players.”
Oreskovich has no qualms putting Lewis on both sides of the ball.
“We’ve had guys in the past do that. I told him it’s nothing new. Our best players have to go both ways and they have to play big roles.”
Oreskovich noted the early lead was key.
“As soon as you’re able to execute and move the ball down the field consistently, it makes it easier to call plays as a coach,” he said. “Once the kids got that confidence where they can move the ball, they can make the blocks and they can make their catches, it exponentially gets better.”
Oreskovich is thrilled to be heading to the final after not knowing what he had at training camp.
“I knew it was going to be a long process,” he said. “I didn’t know any of the kids. I mean, maybe half a dozen. I told the kids it’s going to take a long time for us to teach you the stuff we have to teach you to get to be competitive. And now it starts to kick in. Our offensive is starting to move the ball and our defence played really well.”
Thunder coach Brad Hubbard is looking on the experience as a building block for his inexperienced squad.
“We have a very young team,” he said. “Both our starting wide receivers are in Grade 9 and we have a Grade 10 quarterback.
“We talked about the little subtleties. You know, we dropped a pass that should have been a first down and on the very next play we have to punt and then they run it back for a touchdown. So because we’re young, it’s difficult to come back with that sudden change.
“You have to experience something and know what the feeling’s like and learn from that experience.”
Patriots 42 Thunder 3
Cat’s Caboose Player of the Game: Saint Paul’s Javier Lewis with three touchdowns, one on a run, one on a catch and the other on a punt return.
For the Saint Paul Patriots: Lewis 3 TDs; Tyler Rankin 2 TDs; Daniel Szufranowicz TD; Lucas Vetere 6 converts.
For the Blessed Trinity Thunder: Jaiden Gurzi Macdonald 31-yard field goal.
Up next: The Patriots and Notre Dame Fighting Irish will meet for the NCAA final Friday, Nov. 12 at Saint Paul. Time TBD.
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