Panthers end regular season on a high note
By Fred Sherwin
Mukendi dances his way through the Kanata
Knights defence on his way to one of five
touchdowns in the contest. Lynn Gibault/Photo
the good news: the Cumberland Panthers peewee team ended
their regular season schedule with a 46-7 win over the
Kanata Knights on Saturday, ensuring themselves of homefield
advanage throughout the playoffs.
for the bad news: while doing so, they potentially lost
yet another OVFL player to a season-ending injury when
defensive lineman Avery Bent left the game in the fourth
quarter with a lower leg issue. He joins quarterback Christian
Veilleux (cracked collar bone), recevier Zane Teichroeb
(broken collar bone) and centre Alex Gingras Desjardins
(broken ankle) in the team's infirmary.
their depleted lineup, the Panthers still managed to make
short work of the Knights who were a respectable 4-3 heading
into Satruday's game.
the changes the team had to make heading into the game
was placing their all-star running back Fabrice Mukendi
under centre to replace Veilleux who cracked his collar
bone in a 26-22 loss to the North Gloucester Giants last
responded with one of his best games of the season, running
the ball 12 times for 257 yards and five touchdowns. He
was also a perfect 2-for-2 in the passing department,
playing his first-ever game at quarterback.
backfield running mate, Jonathan Aoude, also had a strong
game carrying the ball 13 times for 179 yards and a touchdown,
and Sebastien Pierre had one carry for an 18-yard TD,
giving the Panthers a total of 454 yards on the ground.
it was Mukendi who came through with several highlight
reel efforts on the artificial turf at Millennium Park,
bouncing back from a sub-par performance against the Giants
in which he was limited to 23 yards on nine carries playing
on a wet and muddy field.
what it was like playing quarterback for the first time,
the 14-year-old Mukendi admitted it would take some getting
was pretty hard being it was a different position, but
my O-line helped me out and my receivers ran their routes
hard and stuff, so yeah it was good," said Mukendi,
who only had two practices at QB heading into the game.
Knights lone touchdown came in the second quarter on a
nine-yard pass from Kareem Ferdinand to Caleb Faulkner
who managed to keep his feet in bounds at the edge of
the end zone. The touchdown was set up by a 46-yard completion
two plays earlier.
the regular season now behind them and second place locked
up in the East Division, the Panthers can look forward
to a first round playoff match-up against the third place
team in the west which had yet to be determined when this
story was written.
only thing the Panthers do know for sure is that the game
will be played at Millennium on a field that gives them
a major advantage. As for the challenge ahead of them,
Mukendi said that he and his teammates plan to do whatever
it takes to win the team's third staight NCAFA championship
and fifth in the last six years.
going to take a lot of hard work. We just gotta do what
we do," said Mukendi.
7 a.m., Oct. 16)
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