JV Panthers suffer back-to-back losses
By Mike Beasley
Panther Fabrice Mukendi ran for 125 yards
against the Ottawa Sooners on June 9 before
he had to leave the game in the third quarter
with a lower body injury. Photo courtesy of
starting the season 3-1, the Cumberland Panthers Junior
Varsity football team has fallen on hard times of late,
losing their last two games to fall to 3-3 and third place
in the Ontario Provincial Football League east division
losing skid started with a 17-14 loss to the Ottawa Sooners
on June 9.
teams entered the highly antici-pated contest with identical
3-1 records so something had to give when the two teams
squared off against each other at Millennium Park.
supporters of both teams filling the stands on a bright
sunny Saturday afternoon, the game had a definite playoff
feel to it.
Sooners tried to establish their running game early on
in the contest, marching the length of the field on their
opening drive, but the Panthers defence stood their ground
in the red zone and limited the Sooners to an 18-yard
defensive stand seemed to kick start the Panthers’ offence
as they started to move the ball with authority both on
the ground and through the air.
just under eight minutes to play in the second quarter,
the Panthers were finally rewarded when running back Fabrice
Mukendi capped a lengthy drive with a 12-yard touchdown
run to give the Panthers their first lead of the game.
time winding down in the second half, Panthers head coach
Jeff Koradi decided to gamble on third and goal.
than attempt a short field goal, the Panthers decided
to go for it and called for a passing play. Unfortunately,
quarterback Nicolas Rico’s attempt was picked off by Sooners
defensive back Shawn Lucas who ran it back 101 yards for
the pick six and a 10-7 halftime lead.
was one of the mistakes that cost us,” Koradi admitted
after the game.
Panthers were also guilty of taking several untimely penalties
which the Sooners managed to capitalize on, but not before
Cumberland was able to take a 14-10 lead on a one-yard
sweep by running back Jonathan Aoude.
score stood up until late in the fourth quarter when the
Sooners scored the eventual game-winning touchdown with
just over two minutes to go.
losing the game, the Panthers also lost the services of
Fabrice Mukendi who left the field with a lower body injury
in the third quarter after running for 125 yards on 10
undisclosed injury was serious enough to keep the fleet-footed
running back out of the Panthers line up for their game
against the London Jr. Mustangs on Saturday.
Mukendi relegated to the side-lines, the Panthers struggled
to establish their running game against a Mustangs team
that has allowed just 83 points in six games. They managed
to gain just 86 yards on the ground, while Rico did his
best to compensate for the lack of a ground attack by
completing 18 of 24 passes for 202 yards with no interceptions.
Unfortunately, none of those passes were for touchdowns.
Panthers’ defence did its level best to keep the team
in the game by limiting the Mustangs to 49 fewer yards
in total offence than the Panthers gained, but they were
unable to keep them off the board for a full four quarters.
conceding a safety and a field goal in the first half,
the Panthers still led 7-5 at the break thanks to Aoude
who scored his team’s lone touchdown of the game in the
Mustangs eventually scored the go ahead touchdown in the
third quarter and added a converted touchdown and another
safety in the fourth stanza to lock up the 21-7 win.
Panthers will look to get back in the win column with
they host the Kingston Grandiers (1-5) this Saturday at
Millennium Park. Kick off is at 1:30 p.m.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)