Volume 12 Week 5

Saturday, March 25


 

Team of the Month

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



NCAFA Football
Mosquito Panthers crush Myers Riders in battle of division leaders
By Fred Sherwin
OrleansOnline,ca

In 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.

The 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 see.

The 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.

The 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.

Zamor's 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.

But 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.

The 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.

When 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.

It 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.

A 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.

The 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.

Baptiste 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.

Coulumbe 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 convert.

What 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.

Panthers 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.

"It 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

As for the game itself, Baptiste was thrilled with how the offence stepped up their game after their Zamor was sidelined with a severe headacho.

"Football 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."

The 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).

(Posted 10 p.m., Oct. 3)

 

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