Panthers win season opener; Jr. Varsity, Varsity teams
not so fortunate
By Fred Sherwin
Baka runs back a kick-off return during the
Cumberland Panthers season opening game against
the West Durham Dolphins on Saturday. Photo
courtesy of Lynn Gilbault
Cumberland Panthers kicked off the 2016 Ontario Varsity
Football season with limited success on the weekend, winning
just one of three games.
Panthers bantam team easily won their game against the
Durham West Dolpbins, but the club's junior and senior
varsity teams weren't as fortunate against the Kingston
senior team managed just one touchdown in a 37-7 loss
to the Grenadiers, while the junior squad didn't fare
much better, coming away on the wrong end of a 25-5 result.
becoming only the second team in club history to make
an OVFL championship game last year, the bantam squad
has high hopes of returning to the final again this season
-- and with the majority of the team's offence back for
a second chance at a title, they are heavy favourites
to not only make it to the final, but win it.
coach Jeff Koradi is refusing to make any such bold predictions,
however, for while his offence is ready for the chalenge,
the team's defence has been retooled and is largely untested.
goal right now is to just be better than our opponent
each weekend," says Koradi. "We have a lot of
guys on defence who haven't played in a system before
and a couple of guys who haven't played football at all.
They're just very good athletes, who we hope will become
very good players."
Saturday the defence was lead by a couple of returning
veterans in defensive halfbacks Markaedyn Nelson and Justice
Koradi who made 15 tackles between them. That was enough
to limit the Dolphins to just two offensive touchdowns,
the first of which was scored after the Panthers fumbled
the opening kickoff deep in their own end.
Dolphins' other two touchdowns came on kickoff returns.by
Jayden Smith including an 80-yard effort.
24-points is nowhere near enough against a team that has
arguably the best quarterback in the league in Christian
Veilloux, and hands down the best receiving corps led
by returning first team all-star Josh Ruby.
Panthers racked up 582 yards on offence, 348 of which
came through the air as Veilleux completed 15 of 26 passes
to six different receivers and threw for three of his
team's seven touchdowns.
caught five passes for 150 yards and a major, while Zane
Teichrob and Maxime Dery had the other two touchdown receptions.
playing set up man for first team all-star Jacob Asselin
last season, Fabrice Mukendi took over the role of feature
running back with relative ease on Saturday, running for
101 yards and two tochdowns on 11 carries.
Rondeau ran for 30 yards and a touchdown on seven carries
and Veilleux ran twice for 70 yards and another TD.
Panthers must travel to Oshawa next Saturday to face the
Hawkeyes, while the junior varsity and varsity teams will
use an early bye week to get in some extra practice time
and prepare for their next opponents.
Hawkeyes will present an excellent early season test for
the bantam Panthers. They've won their first two games,
limiting their opponents to just a touchdown per game
while averaging 24 points per game on offense.
Cumberbatch runs back an interception dusring
the Cumberland Panthers opening season win
against the West Durham Dolphins on Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Lynn Gilbault
9:30 p.m., May 23)
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