Panther defence fails to stop Burlington Stampeders
By Fred Sherwin
running back Marvin Simba is tackled by two
Burlington defenders during Saturday's game
between the Panthers and the Stampeders. Fred
a good thing the Ontario Provincial Football League season
is eight weeks long because it could take that long for
the Cumberland Panthers junior varsity team to whip themselves
into shape after losing their first two games of the season.
the Panthers' offence didn't look like world beaters against
the Burlington Stampeders at Millennium Park on Saturday,
they did manage to put 35 points on the board led by wide
receiver and kick returner Kevin Victome's trio of touchdowns.
in the end it was their lack of timely defensive stands
and missed tackles that cost the Panthers as they were
edged 38-35 by the visiting team.
(Cumberland) showed our team character and kept fighting
the entire game but we can't keep making mistakes against
good teams and expect to win," said Panthers' head
coach Jeff Koradi.
of the mistakes Koradi was talking about included an 85-yard
Burlington kick-off return by Liam Keary right after Cumberland
wide receiver Kevin Victome electrified the hometown crowd
when he and quarterback Ryan Licandro hooked up for 78
yard scoring play to put the Panthers up 7-3 midway through
the second quarter.
return gave the Stampeders a 10-7 lead, quickly putting
an end to the Cumberland touchdown celebration.
Panthers regrouped and struck again with time running
out in the second frame as Victome worked his magic once
again when he scampered 93 yards through the entire Burlington
defence on what originally looked like a botched punt
saw the ball sail over my head and turned to pick it up
as fast as I could," Victome recalls. "Once
I picked it up I looked for some holes and kept running
until I reached the end zone."
Panthers (0-2) managed to survive the first half with
a 14-10 lead but the third quarter proved to be somewhat
of a challenge for the local boys.
running back Marvin Simba hurdles over two
Burlington defenders during third quarter
action in Saturday's game between the Panthers
and the Stampeders. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Stampeders took the lead early in the third quarter on
a 25-yard pass from quarterback Keagan Hall to Keary,
who ended the game with 343 total yards and three touchdowns,
the third of which was scored on a 57-yard run throught
the Panthers' defence to give the Stampeders a 24-14 lead.
Panthers cut the deficit to three points on a 48-yard
run by Marvin Simba late in the third quarter, but any
chance of a comeback were quickly
when the Stampeders special teams came up with their second
block punt of the game that set up an eight play, 55-yard
drive, capped by a one-yard run by Sito Berrio on the
opening play of the fourth stanza.
31-21, the Panthers' offence was able to responded with
a 67-yard drive of their own, culminating in a 15-yard
touchdown toss from Licandro to Simba.
the Panthers defence failed to come up with a stop when
they needed it most and a couple of missed tackles and
a blatant horse collar penalty led to the Stampeders fifth
major of the game on a six-yard pass from Hall to Reid
teams exchanged possessions a couple of times before a
third highlight reel run by Victome put Cumberland in
scoring position in the last minute of play. Licandro
hit Victome in the end zone for the Franco Cité
student's third major of the game, but it proved to be
too little too late as time ran out, giving Burlongton
the end, we lost the game but I liked our character,"
said Koradi. "Going 0-2 is never fun but we know
we need to get to practice and get better."
is unfamiliar territory for the Panthers' head coach who
guided alast year's bantam team to the Ontario Varsity
Football League semi-finals. This year the Cumberland
Panthers Football Club decided to make the jump to the
fledgling OPFL along with seven other former OVFL teams.
the stiffer competition, the junior varsity team has also
lost the services of last year's starting quarterback
Christian Veilleux and all-star running back Fabrice Mukendi
who both opted to join an Ottawa-area development program
and are expected to play high school ball in the fall.
task for Koradi's troops will not get any easier when
they travel to Durham on Sunday, June 4to take on the
Dolphins (2-0). Game time is 3:30 at Pine Ridge Secondary
other OPFL action on Saturday, the Panthers' Premier Varsity
team beat Burlington 39-12 on the shoulders of quarterback
Alex Lawrie who completed 15 of 23 passes foe 232 yards
and four touchdowns.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)