leads Panthers to win over Sooners
By Mike Beasley
had all the makings of a classic. Two local junior varsity
football teams with identical 3-3 records attempting to
solidify a playoff spot in this years’ Ontario Provincial
Football League (OPFL) post season.
Panthers kicker and receiver Xavier Gervais
overcame a severelty sprained ankle to kick
a field goal and score a pair of touchdowns
in 19-0 win over the Ottawa Sooners on Sunday.
further thicken the plot, coaches and players from each
squad were very familiar with each other by way of playing,
working with, or against each other during previous seasons.
was the stage as the Cumberland Panthers and Ottawa Sooners
squared off on Sunday, July 2 at MNP Park on the campus
of Carleton University.
the end, it was Cumberland who stole the show thanks to
an MVP performance from placekicker and receiver Xavier
Gervais who caught two touchdowns and kicked a field goal
despite playing on an injured ankle which he sprained
during a pickup basketball game nearly two weeks ago.
by Gervais’ 15-point performance, the Panthers beat the
Sooners 19-0 to grab Ottawa Junior Varsity East bragging
rights. With the win, the Panthers improved their record
to 4-3 and temporarily moving themselves into second place
in the conference.
lot of people around town really built this game up but
in the end both teams were very respectful of each other,”
said Panthers head coach, Jeff Koradi. “There was definitely
a lot of emotion out there, both teams played their hearts
out which resulted in a very good football game.”
may have played a part in a scoreless first half as both
teams seemed to be a little on edge and failed to execute
with any success.
came close to putting points on the board late in the
first half after moving down the field with a series of
nice runs and accurate passes but a costly offside call
on what would have been a long completion stalled the
drive at Ottawa’s 42 yard line. Without
the penalty, Cumberland would have been looking at a first
down, 20 yards from the Ottawa goal line.
Panthers accepted the call and tried to catch the Sooners
napping with a fake punt but couldn’t generate enough
yardage to gain a first down and had to turn the ball
over with time running out in the half.
came back from the break with a renewed energy and confidence
which led to the game’s first points when Gervais gingerly
walked on to the field and kicked the ball through the
uprights from 18-yards out.
was it again when he and Panthers QB Ryan Licandro hooked
up for a 42-yard touchdown reception later in the third
quarter thaat was camped by a two point convert by Jonathan
and Licandro would hook up again for a touchdown pass
in the fourth quarter capped by a two point convert by
Conor McDonald that put the game away out of reach.
the game stats were broken down, Gervais was responsible
for 15 of his team’s 19 points.
ankle is badly bruised, I had to tape it up to keep it
stable but I wanted to play as well as possible if I got
the chance to go in,” Gervais explained. “I didn’t start
the game because I couldn’t practice all week but in the
second half the coaches told me to get ready to play.
I’m really happy that I could contribute to the win.”
are his coaches and teammates. With a 4-3 record, the
Panthers now have 12 points and occupy second place in
the Junior Varsity East Division. Cumberland sits behind
the undefeated Burlington Stampeders (7-0), 19 points.
Panthers will close out their regular season at home on
Wednesday, Jan. 23 when they welcome the Guelph Jr. Gryphons.
Game time at Millenium Park is 3 p.m.
other action involving the Panthers, the Varsity Bantam
team lost 24-6 to the Sooners and saw their record fall
to 2-4. Still they clinched a playoff spot thanks to the
winless Mississauga Warriors.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)