Redcoats complete revenge tour
The Governor Simcoe Redcoats erased painful memories from 2022 by winning gold at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations A/AA field lacrosse festival.
Last year, Simcoe was leading Holy Trinity 8-3 in the OFSAA final before penalty trouble resulted in a 11-9 defeat.
It was important for Simcoe to bring home the gold.
“We had to complete the revenge tour,” co-captain Colton Armitage said.
Last season’s setback was not on the minds of the Redcoats in the final.
“We had the lead and we weren’t even thinking about last year,” co-captain Oliver Vanyo said.”We were saying, ‘Expand, expand. Let’s keep going and keep the foot on the gas.’ And that’s what we did.”
The team did talk before the game about being disciplined.
“Mr. (coach Jamie) Brophy said that what was going to win us the game was ourselves. We were going to beat ourselves or we were going to push ourselves to the win. If we took stupid penalties we were going to pay for it.”
Brophy felt last year was a big help in 2023.
“It was just walking in with the knowledge of what the whole OFSAA experience is. It made a huge difference,” he said.
“Having already been there and knowing the leaders we have with Oliver, Colton and JR (Jacob Rawson), we knew they were going to be able to take it all in and channel it in the right way.”
Brophy felt his squad had the right stuff and the focus to succeed.
“We knew last year we were a very strong team as well and we didn’t necessarily feel like we lost to a better team but circumstances ended up with us not getting the gold,” he said. “This year they weren’t going to leave it up to anyone else. They were going to make sure they went out and not only have close games, but they were going to dominate teams. Based on the scores that we had from the round robin all the way to the finals, the team played exceptionally well.”
Vanyo, the goalie for the St. Catharines junior A Athletics, felt it was the returning players that made the team special.
“We had a core group from last year and 95 per cent of the players returned. Especially after losing in the finals, we returned with thoughts of going back and finishing what we started last year. That really made it special and brought us together.”
That core was aided by the injection of talent and ongoing development from the younger age groups.
“Last year we had a couple of over-agers but we had a lot of Grade 10s. The jump from the players from Grade 10 to 11 gave us a presence. We came together as a group and those guys really flourished and pushed the team,” Vanyo said.
The Redcoats defeated Crestwood Prep 17-8, Kings Christian 17-3 and Holy Cross Peterborough 12-4 before dumping Patrick Fogarty 10-4 in the final.
Armitage, a St, Catharines Athletics junior B player, had mixed emotions when the gold medal was placed around his neck.
“It felt very relieving just because of what happened last year with coming up short in the finals and getting silver. It was great to finally win. I was so happy and I haven’t been that happy in a very long time.”
The team was confident it could get the job done.
“We were the ones to beat going in and we proved that we were the best team,” said Armitage, who is heading to Brock in the fall to study phys-ed and try out for the school’s lacrosse squad.
That confidence didn’t waver despite the final being tied 1-1 for a long time in the first half.
“They came out hot and we came out a little slow and then we picked up our pace and let finding the back of the net,” he said. “We were just keeping our cool and saying that there was still a lot of lacrosse to be played.”
Armitage and Vanyo will leave with fond memories of their time at Simcoe.
“It is just always being around the boys and hanging out whether it is in school or on the field. It was having that good chemistry and winning a championship,” Armitage said.
Vanyo will recall being part of building something special.
“I wouldn’t call it a dynasty yet. We have only got one championship but I definitely feel that the 04 class is leaving this program better than when we first got here,” he said. “That is always what your goal is and I think that Mr. Brophy had laid that foundation for something really special to happen here. Hopefully it will become a dynasty in the future and win more championships.”
Brophy is looking forward to the next chapter in Simcoe lacrosse.
“With us having a lacrosse program here as well as a course we are looking to continue on with this. We are bringing in some great players but the mentality of the kids that we have here is that they’ve tasted the success and they don’t want to let it go. They want to keep building on it and I’m ecstatic that we have the kids we have in this building. They’re great.”
He expects next season’s team to be strong again, thanks to a large crop of returning players.
“A lot of our players were in Grade 11 but we will lose some key pieces like our captains and a few others like Liam Legault and Carson Shannon. We will lose six or seven players but out of a roster of 23 we are going to have a lot back which is great. I know from our feeder schools that we are bringing in some great players as well.”
Simcoe went into OFSAA with a 13-1 overall record, including 11-0 in league play. Its only loss was to St Andrews in the St. Andrews tournament. The Redcoats outscored their opponents in Niagara 131-42.
Scoring against Crestwood Prep were Armitage (6), Nodin Buck (4), Sutter Pilon (4), Cody McNeil, Legault, Ari Steenhuis, Lochlan Belliveau and Max D’Alosio.
Netting goals versus Kings Christian were Armitage (4), Steenhuis (2), McNeil (2), Pilon (2), D’Alosio (2), Kaleb Taylor, Buck, D’Alosio, Holden Schinkel, Legault and Seth Ranieri.
Recording goals versus Holy Cross Peterborough were Armitage (6), Pilon (3), Steenhuis, Buck and D’Alosio.
Scoring in the championship game against Patrick Fogarty were Armitage (4), McNeil (3), Pilon (2) and D’Alosio.
Members of the team, coached by Brophy, Brady Bearisto, Duncan Belliveau, Leslie Brophy, Carey Speice and Teri Thompson were: Vanyo, Ty Ruch, Sasha Boucher, BeIIiveau, Shannon, Russell Sullivan, Clair Quinlan, Jacob Rawson, Noah Schriver, Pilon, Steenhuis, McNeil, Reid Oates, Holden Schinkel, Kaleb Taylor, Dylan Rawson, Legault, Brandon Judd, Seth Ranieri, Carter Dayaram, D’Aloisio, Buck and Armitage.