Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, Jan. 18


Team of the Month

Posted Jan. 10

Posted Jan. 9

Posted Jan. 7


Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney

(Posted 6 a.m., Jan .21)
Orléans pair hope to show off gridiron skills in Texas
By Mike Beasley

St. Matthew Tiger teammates Xavier Gervais (above) and Alex Ross will be playing in the 8th annual International Bowl this week in Arlington, Texas as members of Team Ontario. File photos

In Texas, religion and football are the main topics of conversation. During football season, it’s the only subject.

Orléans residents Xavier Gervais and Alexander Ross, both 15, will find out firsthand what the talk is all about this week when they travel to the home of the Dallas Cowboys to participate in the 8th annual International Bowl.

USA Football will host the event which is taking place on Jan. 16 and 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Gervais and Ross hope to show off their gridiron skills in the Lone Star state when they line-up for the U16 Team Ontario squad. The Cumberland Panthers’ teammates left on Jan. 11 to take part in several activities prior to the scheduled games.

This year’s International Bowl lineup includes five games between U.S. National Teams and international competition, featuring more than 600 of the top North American high school and junior high age athletes.

The series includes teams at the U18, U17, U16, U15, and U14 levels and is a collaboration of the sport’s national governing bodies in each country: USA Football; the Japan American Football Association; and Football Canada.

“I’m so excited to play for Team Ontario, it’s a real honour,” said Gervais before leaving for Texas last week.

The St. Matthew High School student will line-up at quarterback for Team Ontario. Participating at an event like this may be a life-changer for this pair of 15 year olds.

The competition for Team Ontario was expected to be fierce with a team from the United States in the mix along with a group of elite players from Alberta.

Team Ontario will play two games and participate in an assortment of on field practices.

A tour of AT&T Stadium is also planned which should be a treat for the youngsters.

NCAA scouts were expected to be in attendance with stop watches and notepads in hand, searching for the next generation of college recruits to fill their rosters.

For Ross, the chance to represent his province and countgry is quite remarkable considering the 6’2”, 240 lb. tackle only started playing football in September.

Ross is an accomplished hockey player, skating this season with the U18 AAA Cumberland Grads.

“I started playing competitive football this past fall with the Cumberland Panthers in the Ontario Provincial Football League (OPFL) and everything has evolved from that,” Ross explained.

“I wasn’t sure how things were going to go when I tried out for the team but things went well and I was really happy and proud of myself when they told me I made the team.”

The selection process began with 123 players looking to earn a spot on the 40 man roster. After a one-day tryout in Stoney Creek, Ontario early last month, the U16 team was named on Dec. 9.

“We were put through a series of drills that showed off our skills and ability,” Gervais explained.

The Grade 10 student was one of 13 quarterbacks in attendance and must have impressed because he received an invite to head south of the border.

“My plan is to go down there and make an impression both on and off the field, I realize there will be a lot of good football players in attendance but I will be ready, do my best and play the way I know I can,” said Gervais, who led the St. Matthew Tigers to a city championship and an OFSAA Metro Bowl victory in the fall.

In the seven previous International Bowls, the United States holds a 10-5 edge over Canadian teams in head-to-head match-ups. For more information and results go to: www.footballteamontario.ca.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)


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