The Cumberland Panthers U10 tyke football team knew they were up against it in their A-Cup championship game against the Cornwall Wildcats on Sunday.
In their only previous meeting this season, the Wildcats beat the Panthers 64-14. Not the Panthers were alone in suffering a lopsided defeat to the Cornwall tykes. The Wildcats average margin of victory in their 10 previous wins was 52 points that's including an 82-0 win over the Cumberland Panthers second tyke unit in last week's semi-finals.
| The Cumberland Panthers running backs like Gabriel Gauthier (above) had a hard time finding open space against a stingy Cornwall Wildcats defence that allowed just four first downs in the NCAFA A-Cup final. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
The A-cup final started optimistically enough with Elisha Mufuta sprinting for a 14-yard gain and a first down. It would be their only first down in the opening quarter.
The Panthers would turn the ball over on downs three plays later setting up the Wildcats’ first touchdown of the game on 20-yard run by Connor Hamelin.
The Wildcats would score again on their next three possessions to take a 28-0 lead while the Panthers struggled to pick up a first down. It wasn't until their fifth possession of the game that Mufuta was able to break through the Wildcats' front line for a 48-yard touchdown run that the Panthers finally got on the scoreboard.
Momentum appeared to swing Cumberland's way when the defence forced the Wildcats to turn the ball over on a fumble that was recovered on Cornwall's 30-yard line by Flynn Murphy.
Unfortunately, the Panthers were unable to capitalize on their good fortune as the Wildcats managed to regain possession three plays later when they stopped Cumberland on third and one which lead to a 44-yard touchdown run by Hamelin.
Up 32-8 with 10 seconds left in the first half the audacious Wildcats decided to go for another major score rather than simply take a knee. The result was a 45-yard touchdown toss from Bryce Camplin to Myles Merpaw and a 40-8 halftime lead.
The second half unfolded much like the first. The Wildcats scored on the opening series to go up 48-8 which set in motion the running clock rule that allows for time to keep running despite a stoppage in play whenever a team is leading by 35 points or more.
The Wildcats would add two more TDs before the final whistle blew to make the final score 64-8.
The Wildcars defence allowed just four first downs the entire game. The first came on the Panthers’ opening play and the last came on the last play of the game.
Mufuta was kept largely in check throughout the contest. Other than her
47-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, she ran for 28 yards on nine plays, all but eight of which were in the first half.
Gabriel Gauthier ran for 40 yards on five carries. Jacob Pranschke had seven carries for 14 yards; Nicolas Charlebois had five carries for 16 yards; Rhyse Button had three carries for eight yards; and Trenton Murdock had three carries for a total of six yards.
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