Volume 12 Week 5

Monday, Oct. 23


 

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



Ontario Varisty Football
Bantam Panthers pass early season litmus test with flying colours
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

If the Cumberland Panthers had one question mark coming into the season, it would have been their defence. On Saturday, they passed their first real test against their traditional rivals the Myers Riders.

Despite having to retool their defence with a mix of second year rookies and second teamers from last year's squad, the Panthers defence has grown leaps and bounds in just three weeks under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Chris St. Amour.

On Saturday, the defence held Myers off the scoreboard until late in the game when a pass interfernce penalty and an unnecessary roughing call gave the Riders a first down on the one-yard line which they managed to convert to avoid being shut out.

Offensively, the Panthers did just what they needed to do to secure the win. Second year QB Christian Veilleux connected with Zane Teichroeb on a 15-yard pass for a touchdown to cap their second drive of the game, and then Fabrice Mekinde scored on a five-yard run late in the game to cap a 45-yard drive that saw the second year running back carry the ball five times in a row.

The series was a statement to the Riders, telling them that the Panthers could run the ball down their throats whenever they have a mind to.

The Panthers have now gotten the better of their Eastern Ontario rivals for the past four games in a row including last year's Wettges Conference final. They may very well face each other again in this year's conference final. If so, Koradi wants the psychological advantage that comes with winning and winning emphatically.

The two teams will meet again at Millennium Park on July 2. Between now and then, however, there is still a lot of football to play. The Panthers have a bye next weekend and then they host the Durham West Dolphins on June 18 in a rematch of their opening day game which the Panthers won 50-24.

On June 25, they will host the York Region Lions in a tune up for their game against Myers.

Koradid coildn't be happier with where his team is at this point in the season.

"We're better this week than we were at the beginning of the season and the goal is to keep getting better week to week so that we peak at just the right time," says Koradi.

Although he won't say it this early in the season, the right time to peak would be the OVFL championship game in August where the Panthers hope to avenge their disappointing loss in last year's final.

"The guys are very highly motivated. And they're focused. Getting them ready for each game isn't a problem." says Koradi.

Statiscally, Veilleux ended the game with 15 completions for 224 yards and a touchdown, while Mukendi ran for 83 yards on 19 carries including a touchdown and a two point conversion.

On defence, the Panthers sacked the Myers quarterback seven times and Justice Koradi intercepted an errant pass in the end zone for good measure.

The two teams will do it all again on July 2 at Millennium Park. Kick-off is at 5 p.m.

(Posted 9:30 p.m., June 5)

 

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