Two Generals teams off to semifinals
The peewee Generals football team defeated Hamilton 30-8. Photo by Linda Bover.
Two Niagara Generals football teams are marching on to the semifinals of the Ontario Fall Football League.
The Niagara Generals bantam football squad moved one step closer with a 33-6 quarter-final victory at home against the Waterloo Warhawks while the peewee Generals advanced to the semifinals with a 30-8 triumph over the Hamilton Junior Tiger Cats.
The atom Generals dropped a 30-14 decision to the Guelph Gryphons.
Missing eight starters, the Warhawks played a very good first half and moved the ball well against the Generals’ defence.
Niagara struck quickly with a beautiful 70-yard TD strike from quarterback Benji Kolodziejczak to Hudson Grant on the second play from scrimmage. Just before the half, a dunk pass to tight end Jack James saw him run 65 yards for a major to give Niagara a 12-0 halftime lead.
And then the Generals turned the taps on and put the game away in the second half. Luis Corredor-Reyes scampered 60 yards for a major and running Mark Hazzouri did much the same damage for two scores, beating the Warhawks to the outside. Hazzouri capped off his last TD with a convert and Brett Wall got a two-point convert to round out the Generals’ scoring.
“The Generals’ defence would bend but not break for much of the game, however, the Warhawks got a nice major with about three minutes left in the game,” Niagara coach Chris Lundy said.
The next opponent for Niagara is the Brantford Bisons Saturday at 1p.m. at Kiwanis Field.
Jaxson and Jaxon were too much for the visiting Hamilton Junior Tiger Cats.
Jaxson Smith had multiple sacks and tackles and Jaxon Bielich had multiple tackles and a forced fumble to power the Niagara Generals peewee football team to a 30-8 triumph over Hamilton.
Also on defence for Niagara, Ronin Weins had an interception.
The Generals’ offence was led by: Sawyer Grant, who had one rushing TD and threw for 65 yards, including a TD pass to Layken Crawford: Crawford with a 35-yard rushing TD; Ronin Weins with a 10-yard rushing major; and, Jake Brewster with a 15-yard TD grab.
“After a tough loss on the road in the previous week, I am really happy with the energy the kids brought in this rematch with Hamilton. They came out, played hard and were victorious,” Niagara coach Cliff Miller said. “They need to keep this newfound energy in the playoff if they want to win it all. Any team that comes in hot in the playoffs can take it all. This week we have to face an undefeated Oakville team. We have our work cut out for us, but with the right preparation we should be ready.”
The Niagara Generals lost 30-14 to Guelph in the first round of the playoffs.
Guelph opened with a punt return TD that resulted in injuries to two Niagara players but Generals responded with a long drive capped off by a rushing major by Eli McLean.
The Gryphons built a 22-8 lead in the second quarter and Niagara just failed to respond late in the second half with the ball on Guelph’s three-yard line and 13 seconds left on the clock.
In the second half, Niagara received some excellent runs from Jorge Corredor Reyes, Jackson Lewis and McLean. An excellent TD run by Corredor Reyes was called back on a penalty. Niagara’s defence played well in the second half allowing Niagara to cut the lead to 22-14 on a run by Lewis.
Niagara continued to battle hard in the fourth quarter, recording some great defensive stops led by Joey Smees and Ryden Lamb-Mascia. Lamb-Mascia was able to strip sack the Gryphons quarterback with about two minutes left in the game. Niagara then drove the ball all the way down to the Gryphons’ red zone. With no time left on the clock, quarterback McLean was pushed out of bounds at the one-yard line to end the game.
“Throughout the game our guys continued to work hard. Although we suffered several injuries, our guys never gave up,” coach Andrew Lewis said. “Regardless of the outcome of this game I am proud of our guys. They showed heart, worked hard together and showed their love for the game of football.”
Niagara’s coaching staff saw a great improvement throughout the season from a squad that included some athletes who were new to football.
“Although we didn’t get the results we wanted in the playoffs, I am glad I had an opportunity to work with such a great group of kids,” Lewis said. “I hope we see all of these kids come back next season and once again join our Generals family.”