Panthers salvage rough weekend for east end football club
By Fred Sherwin
Panthers running back Jackson Bennett tries to pick up some tough yardage
against the Kanata Knights in one of two NCAFA A-Cup semi-finals on Sunday.
very little to celebrate in Pantherland on the weekend as three Cumberland
Panther football teams had their seasons end early, leaving only the bantam
squad which managed to qualify for the B-Cup championship.
The weekend started
out with a disappointing result in the tyke A-Cup semifinal which the Panthers
lost 24-22 to the Nepean Redskins thanks largely to a disastrous third quarter
in which the Panthers fumbled three snaps, two of which were turned into
By the end of
the quarter, the Panthers found themselves trailing 18-6. They managed to
narrow the deficit to 18-14 early in the fourth stanza on a five yard touchdown
toss from Mathieu Franche to Connor Gunn, but the Redskins came right back
with their fourth major of the game to go up by 10.
added a touchdown and a two point convert late in the game to make the score
close, but by then the damage had already been done. Daniel Mellon ended
the game with a pair of touchdowns including a long kick return and Bryson
Michel kicked a pair of two point converts.
As a new day
dawned over Millennium Park on Sunday, the Panthers mosquito team was hoping
to bounce back from last weekend's quarterfinal shutout loss to the Bell
Warriors as they prepared to face the Gloucester South Raiders in the B-Cup
The game was
over almost before it started, however, when Panthers starting quarterback
Kurt Henneberry was forced to the sideline with an ankle injury midway through
the first quarter. Prior to his exit, the Panthers had picked up just one
first down. It would be the only first down they would get the entire game.
Despite the lack
of offense, the Panthers still managed to keep the score close through the
first two quarters and at half-time the score was only 8-0 in favour of
They even managed
to dodge a bullet in the opening moments of the second half when the Raiders
failed to take advantage of a Panthers turnover on the opening kickoff.
luck would run out two series later when the Raiders managed to pick off
an errant pass and promptly marched the ball into the end zone to take a
a pivotal moment during the Cumberland Panthers 30-16 loss to the Kanata
Knights in the NCAFA A-Cup peewee semi-final on Sunday, Panthers running
back Jaylen King is stripped of the ball by a Knight defender. Fred Sherwin/Photo
continued to self destruct during the Raiders next series when they took
a pair of flagrant face mask penalties allowing Gloucester South to march
the ball 51 yards on four plays to go up 22-0.
would add another touchdown off a Panthers turnover midway through the fourth
quarter to make the final score 30-0. Dawson Ftorek led the way for the
Raiders with a touchdown and three two-point conversions. His brother Milan
also had a touchdown as did Daniel Erron and Byron Flowers.
After two disappointing
losses, the Panthers lone remaining hope to reach the A-Cup finals rested
with the club's peewee team which was looking to avenge their only loss
of the season against the Kanata Knights in the A-Cup semifinals
The game got
off to a rather ominous start when the Knights made the Panthers pay for
a fumble on their opening series with a eye-opening 80-yard touchdown run
by #25 Brad Hills on their first play from scrimmage.
They then scored
two points on the convert when they faked the kick and passed the ball instead
to take an early 8-0 lead.
responded two series later when Jaylen King capped a 50-yard, four play
drive with a 10-yard touchdown run. Tyrone Pierre then scored on a sweep
for the two-point convert to tie the game at 8-8.
took the lead in the second quarter on a two yard run by King and another
two point convert by Pierre. The Knights came right back with another impressive
drive highlighted by a 45-yard dash by Hills. A botched convert attempt,
however, would leave the Panthers ahead 16-8 at half-time.
The score remained
close until the fourth quarter when a critical turnover by the Panthers
on their six yard line would give the Knights the opening they were looking
Prior to the
turn of events, the Panthers defence had come up huge in stopping the Knights
on three straight plays after Mills had ripped off another 80-yard run to
give Kanata a first down on Cumberland's 15-yard line.
Rather than go
for it on third down, the Knights lined up to attempt a 17-yard field goal
that would have given them a one point lead, but the ball never left the
ground and Cumberland recovered it on the three yard line.
were hoping to pick up one or two first downs and run some time off the
clock when the Knights managed to rip the ball out of King's hands to set
up their go ahead touchdown.
The Knights would
add a converted touchdown in the dying moments of the game to make the final
With his players
struggling to hold their heads up, Panthers head coach Chris Molinski did
his best to put the loss in perspective.
the football gods smile on you and sometimes they don't, but the kids played
their hearts out today. They did all they could. Unfortunately things didn't
go our way today," said Molinski.
last chance to play for a cup rested on the shoulders of the club's bantam
team which was coming off a tough 27-0 loss to the Nepean Redskins last
week. Their opponents were the Cornwall Wildcats who they lost 19-16 to
in Week 1.
After a scoreless
first quarter, the Panthers finally got on the scoreboard early in the second
stanza on a 20 yard pass from #7 to Ben Raymond that capped a seven play,
would added two more converted touchdowns before the end of the quarter
to take a 21-0 half-time lead. Emerson Curran scored Cumberland's second
touchdown and Ryan Donohue added the third major.
Uyo Akram increased
the Panthers' lead to 28-0 in the third quarter and then followed up Curran's
second touchdown of the game in the fourth with his second major to make
the final score 41-0. It was the Panthers largest margin of victory this
be hoping for a repeat performance when they take on the Bell Warriors in
the B-Cup championship on Saturday. The Warriors made short work of the
North Gloucester Giants in Sunday's other B-Cup semifinal, winning 26-0.
did everything we had to do to win the game," Panthers head coach Bob
Wojick said after the big win. "We kept our composure really well despite
of a few cheapshots that were thrown our way, which showed a lot of discipline
and we managed to bounce back after an early fumble."
As for their
next opponent, Wojick says the Warriors' 4-4 record belies the fact that
they played in a very competitive division and are likely a lot better than
their schedule would suggest.
going to be a very good opponent. We're going to have to come ready to play
and we're going to have to execute a lot better than we did today. We're
not going to be able to take any plays off," said Wojick.
p.m., Oct. 27)
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