miscues cost Cumberland Panthers
By Fred Sherwin
Panthers wide receiver Ben Raymond looks for an opening while returning
a kick-off against the Bell Warriors in the NCAFA B-Cup Championship on
Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
missed opportunities were the order of the day for the Cumberland Panthers
on Saturday as they fell short in their bid to win the NCAFA B-Cup championship
against the Bell Warriors.
The first indication
that it wasn't going to be the Panthers day came fairly early in the game
when they were called for going offside on a Warriors field goal attempt
that hit the upright.
The penalty would
give the Warriors a new set of downs and they took full advantage of the
opportunity, scoring two plays later on a quarterback keeper by Josh Keenan.
the extra point after the touchdown, the Warriors would earn a single in
the second quarter on a long punt by Bobby Godfrey that eluded the Cumberland
return man and rolled out the back of the end zone. It would the first of
several kicks that the Panthers would misplay by not setting their return
men up deep enough given the blustery conditions.
finally got on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter when Miguel
Olivier blasted a 42 yard punt through the back of the end zone.
Two series later,
Cumberland committed their first of several turnovers on the day, fumbling
the ball away on the Warriors 48 yard line. Two plays later Keenan hit a
wide open Alex Demidenko for a 45-yard touchdown reception to put the Warriors
up 15-1 at the half.
after two quarters, the Panthers were still in a position to get back into
the game if they could cut down on their miscues.
the second half off with a bang when Uyo Akpan ran 60 yards for a touchdown
on the first play from scrimmage to narrow the deficit to
A poor decision
on the ensuing kickoff by the Warriors would put them all the way back on
their own five yard line. When the Warriors failed to pick up a first down,
they were forced to punt the ball from their own end zone.
After the Panthers
returned the ball to the Warriors' 36-yard line, they were unable to gain
anymore ground and decided to quick kick a fake field goal attempt rather
than go for the automatic single and allow the Warriors to start their next
series on the 35-yard line.
It was a great
strategy, especially when Miguel's kick went out of bounds at the 10-yard
line. The Panthers defence answered the bell once again and the Warriors
were forced to punt the ball from deep in their own end.
out on the Warriors' 40-yard line, the Panthers managed to move the ball
down to the eight before finally stalling. Rather than go for the touchdown
on third down, they went for the field goal. Unfortunately, Miguel's 15-yard
attempt sailed just wide and they ended up having to settle for single to
make the score 15-8.
to fall apart for the Panthers soon afterwards. On their next series, quarterback
Philippe Wakim was trying to avoid a sack deep in his own end when he threw
the ball into the hands of Warriors' lineman Kyle Wilson who easily trotted
into the end zone for the touchdown.
on the ensuing kickoff would once again force the Panthers to start off
from their 10-yard line. When they failed to move the ball, Miguel was forced
to punt the ball from the end zone which gave the Warriors excellent field
position on the Cumberland 21-yard line. Two plays later, Demidenko made
a sliding catch in the end zone to give Bell a 26-8 lead.
would extend their lead to 33-8 in the fourth quarter on another interception
return for a touchdown. The man on the spot was Jordan Taylor who would
end up earning player of the game honours.
After the final
whistle was blown and the Warriors were presented the championship trophy,
Panthers head coach Bob Wojick lamented the fact that his team never put
in a full practice during the entire season.
one thing I'm disappointed about it's in not showing up for practice. If
you learn anything from this it is that you have to get your heads into
it. How you prepare for the game will say a lot about how you're going to
do in the game," Wojick told his players. "The one thing I really
liked is the way you never gave up. No matter how bad things were, you kept
had an up and down season. After starting out 2-1-1 including a forfeit
win over the East Ottawa Generals in Week 2, they were hammered 41-0 by
the Kanata Knights in Week 6. After the game, Wojick replaced Sean Murphy
as head coach.
His first win
came three days later when the Panthers finished playing an earlier game
against the North Gloucester Giants that had to be suspended due to darkness.
finished out the season with a pair of wins over the Canterbury Mustangs
and the Gloucester South Raiders to finish in second place in the East Division.
They would suffer
another setback in the first round of the playoffs when the Nepean Redskins
hardly broke a sweat in beating them 27-0. They would bounce back the next
week to beat the Cornwall Wildcats 41-0 and earn a berth in the B-Cup championship.
p.m., Nov. 1)
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