Panthers outlast Wildcats in back and forth contest
By Fred Sherwin
Panthers running back Eleijah Zamor runs for
one of his five touchdowns against the Cornwall
Wildcats on Saturday. Dina Epale/Photo
the Cumberland Panthers mosquito team took the field against
the Cornwall Wildcats on Saturday, they knew they would
get their first real test of the season against a team
coming off a 44-39 win over the North Gloucester Giants.
What they didn't know is just how tough a test it would
teams are blessed with a feature player who can score
touchdowns from anywhere on the field. In the Panthers'
case it's running back Eleijah Zamor who scored five touchdowns
against the Nepean Eagles last week. The Wildcats main
man is quarterback Noah Cardinal, who like Zamor, can
score touchdowns in bunches.
Panther opened the game with a 75-yard, seven play drive,
capped by a 30-yard touchdown run by Zamor. A missed convert
attempt left the score at 6-0 for the home team.
Wildcats responded with an 81-yard drive capped by a 21
yard run by Cardinal. And so the lines were drawn. A successful
two-point convert by Cornwall kicker Tristan Descamps
gave the Wildcats the early 8-6 lead. (Editor's note:
At the tyke and mosquito levels a convert kick is worth
fumble recovery by the Panthers' Adam Snyder at midfield
would set up a 55-yard touchdown run by Matthew Baptiste
early in the second quarter. Add a two-point convert by
Panthers' kicker Evan Aubrey and the Cumberland was briefly
able to enjoy a 14-8 lead.
because the Wildcats responded three plays later with
a 29-yard run by Cardinal and another two-point convert
by Deschamps to move back in front.
potential key point in the game came on the Panthers next
series. A 28-yard pass from Jacob Coulombe to Jefferson
Bretanys Desca gave Cumberland a first down on the Wildcats
11. With a winded Zamor getting a much needed breather
on the sidelines, the Panthers were only able to move
the ball down to the five before turning it over on downs
to the Wildcats.
less than a minute left to play in the first half and
the Wildcats pinned deep in their own end, it seemed unlikely
they could do much damage before time expired. Unfortunately,
no one bothered to tell Cardinal the hopelessness of the
situation as the Wildcats' quarterback took the snap,
rolled outside and scampered 105 yards down the left sideline
and into the Panthers' end zone.
third two-point convert of the game would give the Wildcats
a well-deserved 24-14 lead at the half.
Panthers came out in the third quarter determined to slow
Cardinal and the Wildcats' offence down, while a rejuvenated
and well-rested Zamor did what he does best -- score touchdowns.
defence achieved their task by not allowing a first down
in the third quarter, while Zamor and Baptiste scored
a pair of touchdowns to move the Panthers back in front.
A pair of Aubry converts made the score 30-14 Cumberland.
Zamor's 19-yard touchdown run was set up by a 39-yard
punt return by Snyder.
the fourth quarter started the Panthers had possession
of the ball on their own 54-yard line. A high snap could
have proved disastrous, but a quick- thinking Zamor gathered
the ball up in the backfield, eluded several would-be
tacklers and weaved his way through the Wildcat defence
all the way into the end zone to extend Cumberland's advantage
to 12 points.
pesky Wildcats were finally able to get the better of
the Panthers' defence on the next series thanks mainly
to Cardinal's nifty running as the quarterback was able
to come up with a 51-yard effort to narrow the deficit
to four points following the two-point convert.
Panthers countered with yet another long touchdown run
by Zamor, this time for 53-yards. A missed convert attempt
left the score at 42-32 in favour of Cumberland.
2:28 left in the game, it was Cardinal's turn to once
again come up big for his team with a 49-yard effort with
the Wildcats facing third and nine. Deschamps fifth straight
convert would narrow the deficit to just two points.
were getting tense when Zamor scored his fifth touchdown
of the game on a 58-yard run to put the Panthers up by
eight. Rather than attempt a possible two-point convert
kick, Cumberland lined up for a one-point play to try
and give themselves a two possession lead. Put in the
game at quarterback, Baptiste rolled out and threw the
ball to Zamor who was positioned just inside the goal
the game all but over, the Wildcats worked the ball downfield
and eventually scored on a three-yard run by Cardinal
who ended up with six touchdowns on the day. Deschamps
first miss on the two-point convert attempt left Cornwall
trailing by three points with less than 19 seconds to
Wildcats very nearly recovered the ensuing onside kick,
but possession was awarded to the Panthers who were more
than happy to take a knee on the last play of the game
and walk off the field with the 49-46 win.
the game Panthers head coach Sean Baptiste said he was
pleased to see his team rise to the challenge against
a strong opponent.
was a huge win for us. It was good to see the kids get
into a close one, face a little adversity and come back
strong," said Baptiste. "And you gotta give
credit to Cornwall. They came out hard, they tackled hard
and they were hard on the ball. How we responded coming
out in the second half on defence set the tone for the
rest of the game."
win allows the Panthers to keep pace with the 4-0 Orleans
Bengals atop the East Conference. Next up for the mosquito
squad are the South Ottawa Mustangs who are struggling
at 0-3. Game time is 4 p.m. at Millennium Park.
6:30 a.m., Sept. 11)
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