Panthers pass early season litmus test with flying colours
By Fred Sherwin
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
June 25, they will host the York Region Lions in a tune
up for their game against Myers.
coildn't be happier with where his team is at this point
in the season.
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
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.
guys are very highly motivated. And they're focused. Getting
them ready for each game isn't a problem." says Koradi.
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.
defence, the Panthers sacked the Myers quarterback seven
times and Justice Koradi intercepted an errant pass in
the end zone for good measure.
two teams will do it all again on July 2 at Millennium
Park. Kick-off is at 5 p.m.
9:30 p.m., June 5)
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