AK Ismail helps propel St. Matt’s to All Saints Bowl win
By Fred Sherwin
pair of fingertip catches by St. Matt’s receiver A.K.
Ismail helped propel the Tigers to a 21-7 win over the
Franco-Cité Falcons on Oct. 5 in the second annual All
Saints Bowl at Millennium Park.
performance was meaningful in a lot of ways, not the least
of which is the fact that he is a Muslim playing at a
Catholic high school. Take that, Donald Trump.
Matthew running back Lovely Tshibanda cuts
around a Franco-Cité defender in the All
Saints Bowl last week. The Tigers won the
game 21-2. Fred Sherwin/Photo
even more awe-inspiring is the fact that it was his first
game playing between the hash marks since suffering a
season-ending injury one year ago to the day against the
very same Franco-Cité team.
broke his leg against the Falcons in the second game of
the season last year, which forced him to miss the All
Saints Bowl against the St. Peter Knights. He’s taken
reps in practice, but a forfeit against Philomen Wright
in the opening week of the season meant that he had to
wait for his return against the Falcons.
off their win in the OFSAA Metro Bowl last year, and playing
without OFSAA bowl MVP Kian Williams and fellow standout
Katley Joseph who both transferred to Canada Prep Academy
in St. Catharines during the summer, the Tigers had a
lot to prove both to them-selves and to the rest of league.
didn’t take long for them to dispel any doubts that they
would be a force to be reckoned with again this year.
by Grade 11 quarterback Xavier Gervais and the backfield
tandem of Enoc Enyaka and Lovely Tshibanda, the Tigers
overcame a flurry of penalties in the first half, including
a holding call that negated an early touchdown, to eventually
take a 7-0 lead on a 31-yard run by Willy Pierrer Dimbongi
who scored with 4.2 seconds left in the second quarter.
Falcons came close to tying the game midway through the
third stanza but were guilty of dropping the ball in the
end zone resulting in a turnover on downs.
Tigers immediately took advantage of the situation two
plays later on a pass down the middle from Gervais to
Ismail who made the fingertip catch at full speed resulting
in a 91-yard touchdown.
pair would hook up again three minutes later for 60-yard
TD pass that put the game out of reach.
the final whistle blew, Ismail expressed his gratitude
for the opporunity to get to play the game he loves so
been waiting for this moment all year. It definitely felt
good,” said Ismail who almost had a third touchdown catch.
“I’m trying to give a year’s performance in every game
I play for the time I missed.”
Tigers were originally scheduled to play the St. Peter
Knights in the All Saints Bowl, but the last year’s winners
had to pull out due to a conflict with the St. Pete’s
40th anniversary reunion which was taking place at the
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)