Tough opening losses for JV and bantam Spears
The Niagara Spears junior varsity football team opened the Ontario Summer Football League season with an agonizing 15-10 loss at home last Saturday to the Durham Dolphins.
Clinging to a late lead, the Spears gave up a Hail Mary TD pass with 39 seconds left in the game to end up on the losing side of the ledger.
“The defence played great but we made too many mental mistakes during the game,” Spears head coach Brad Martin said. “We fumbled on the five-yard line and we didn’t convert two third and ones.”
Martin attributed the errors to first-game mistakes.
“It was our first live action in a game and we made mistakes at the wrong time.”
He saw lots from his team to be encouraged about.
“I thought they played great at times. We have a lot of talent, the kids are working hard and it’s just that we have to eliminate mistakes, especially at the provincial level.”
Highlights for Niagara included: Austin MacRae, who kept many drives alive with his athletic ability and completed a 20-yard TD pass to Joe Martinelli; interceptions by Carter Small and Tyson Wong; and, two safeties forced by Niagara’s defence.
Niagara is at Jacob Hespler Field Saturday to take on Cambridge before returning home June 3 to take on the Etobicoke Eagles at 4 p.m. at Kiwanis Field.
HAMILTON 28 BANTAM SPEARS 20
The Niagara Spears bantam football team opened its season with a 28-20 loss to the Hamilton Junior Ti-Cats.
Niagara went into the fourth quarter trailing 28-7 and scored two late majors to make the game interesting. The Spears only allowed one touchdown in the second half.
Led by the rushing of Josh Gauslin and the passing of quarterback Andrew Hurrle, Niagara recorded 338 yards of total offence in the loss.
Hurrle completed passes to dynamic receivers Owen Saunders, Hudson Grant, and Calum Moore throughout the game and the defence played a spirited and resilient game.
“The defence produced timely turnovers late in the game to provide the offence with extra possessions to close the scoring gap,” head coach Austin Huh said.
Scoring for Niagara were: Saunders on a 26-yard pass from Hurrle; Gauslin on a 65-yard run; and, Hurrle with a one-yard run.
Outstanding defensive performances were turned in by: Raph Robinson who registered five solo tackles; Grant who recorded five solo tackles and an interception; and Saunders who registered a tackle for a loss and a quarterback sack.
“The Spears will learn from this game and continue to build and move forward,” Huh said.
Niagara is at Jacob Hespler Field Saturday to take on Cambridge followed by a bye week.