Panthers crush Myers Riders in battle of division leaders
By Fred Sherwin
game that was billed as a possible preview of the NCAFA
A-Cup championship on Sunday, the East Division leading
Cumberland Panthers pounded the West Division leading
Myers Riders 44-7.
highly anticipated matchup was close for the first 10
minutes before the Panthers blew things wide open with
as dominating a second quarter as you are ever going to
Panthers opened the scoring with a touchdown by speedster
Eleijah Zamor on their opening drive. The Riders responded
with a long drive and a two-point convert to take an 8-7
lead. It would be their only lead of the game.
Panthers marched the ball 88 yeards on their next drive,
capped with a nine yard touchdown run by Jeffeson Desca
and a two-point convert to give Cumberland a 15-8 lead.
More significant than the actual touchdown was the loss
of Zamor who had been sick all day and was suffering from
a massive headache.
departure from the game meant that Desca and unning mate
Matthew Baptiste would have to step up and provide the
lion's share of the offence. They would do just that with
the help of an offensive line that had an absolute banner
day against the Riders' front seven.
as good as the Pathers' offence was, it was their defence
that limited the Riders to just four plays in the second
quarter and shut them down for most of the second half.
Riders were hoping to respond to the Panthers' second
touchdown with another touchdown drive of their own, but
a pick off by Dillon Mitchell at midfield on Myers second
play from scrimmage would set up a 55-yard drive by the
Panthers capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jacob
Coulombe to Cordel Epale. A missed convert would leave
the score at 21-8.
the Riders failed to pick up a first down on their next
possession, the Panthers put together another impressive
drive capped by an 18-yard run by Baptiste just as the
first half came to an end.
was more of the same for the Panthers in the second half.
An interception by Vincent Griffin on the Riders opening
drive would lead to the Panthers' fifth touchdown of the
game scored by Desca on a six yard run and a 33-8 lead.
60-yard return on the ensuing kickoff put the Riders in
position to score their second touchdown of the game and
briefly cut into the Panthers' lead.
Riders defence then kept the Panthers out of the end zone
for the first time in the game giving their fans hope
of a possible comeback. Those hopes were dashed when the
Panthers defence forced the Riders to turn the ball over
on downs on their own 35, setting up yet another touchdown
by Baptiste to give Cumberland a 40-16 lead which is how
the game ended.
ended the game with 18 carries for 177 yards and a touchdown.
He also caught the ball three times for 27 yards. Desca
had nine carries for 44 yards and two touchdowns, and
Zamor had four carries for 79 yards and a touchdown before
leaving the game.
was 6-for-10 for 55 yards and a touchdown. Epale caught
the ball three times for 38 yards and a touchdown. He
also ran the ball once for 10 yards and caught a two point
made the win especially sweet was the memories of last
year's contest between the two teams which the Riders
won by an equally lopsided score.
head coach Sean Baptiste said that while the coaching
staff we're aware of the significance of the game, they
tried not to relay that to the players.
was in the back of our minds but we didn't want to relay
that to the kids. We were a much younger team last year
for the game itself, Baptiste was thrilled with how the
offence stepped up their game after their Zamor was sidelined
with a severe headacho.
players have to make plays and we did that out there,"
said Baptiste. "We showed we have some depth on offencve
and that we're not just a one person show, we have other
people who can contribute and move those yard sticks,
and we did that today."
win improves the Panthers record to 6-0 and sets up a
potential first place showdown with the Orleans Bengals
on Oct. 13. But first the two teams must get past their
next opponents. The Panthers will face the North Gloucester
Giants (2-4) this Saturday, while the Bengals will take
on the East Ottawa Generals (2-4).
10 p.m., Oct. 3)
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