The Orléans Raftsmen are Quebec midget football champions in just their second year in the Quebec Midget Football League (QMFL). The Raftsmen beat the North Shore Mustangs 21-2 in Montréal on Nov. 3 to win the Doug Britton Bowl which is awarded to the winners of the QMFL championship game.
The Raftsmen advanced to the bowl game by virtue of their 24-14 win over the Greenfield Park Packers in the semi-finals. The Mustangs beat the St. Leonard Cougars 14-0 in the other semi-final.
In the winner take all final, the Raftsmen caught a break midway through the first quarter when the Cougars went for it on fourth and one on the three-yard line and end up coughing up the ball.
Orléans linebacker Eric Cumberbatch was Johnny on the spot to recover the loose ball and end the threat.
The Raftsmen were unable to move the ball on their series and decided to give up a safety rather than attempt a punt from their end zone. It would be the only points the Mustangs would score all game.
The Raftsmen's first touchdown came early in rhe second quarter on a 38-yard run up the middle by Dante Spadaccini.
The Raftsmen's second touchdown came on a 25-yard pass from Nick Rico to Colin Doherty who managed to keep his feet in bounds at the back of the end zone with 1:02 left in the first half.
The final touchdown was set up by a 58-yard punt return by Ethan Wilson. The decisive blow was delivered by Rico who threw a bullet to Jonathan Aoude who was standing on the goal line.
The Raftsmen would add a single off a punt in the fourth quarter that the Mustangs were unable to get out of their end zone to make the final score 22-2 in favour of Orléans.
It was a dominating performance by the Raftsmen who finished the regular season with an 5-2 record. Their two losses came against the Kanata Knights in a crossover game with the NCAFA team in their season opener and the Mustangs who beat them 22-7 on Sept. 28.
Among their five wins were five shut-outs which contributed to their league best points against total (58) and points differential (+57).
The Raftsmen allowed just 158 yards in offence against the Mustangs in the championship game while racking up 297 yards when they had the ball.
Rico completed 11 of 14 passes for 157 yards and a pair of touchdown tosses to Aoude and Spadaccini. He also ran for 30 yards on seven carries and a TD.
Spadaccini finished the game with 97 yards on 16 carries and ]a touchdown.
Doherty caught the ball twice times for 79 yards including his 25-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
The Raftsmen's stellar season would end on a sour note in the Interprovincial Bowl on Sunday, Nov. 10.
The NCAFA champion Kanata Stallions beat them 22-14 to maintain the National Capital Amateur Football Association’s dominance over
the QMFL. NCAFA teams are now 9-1 against their Quebec counterparts in the season finale for both leagues.
| Team roster: Astel Essindi, Cyrann Essindi, Emile Leonhardt, Guylain Kamo, Jakob Dubé, Jérémy Dubé, Julien Bolduc, Luis Dominguez, Nicolas Brazeau, Olivier Leonhardt, Sacha Joly, Thomas Joly, Serge Aluma Amani, Stenzel Ripemntoum, Thierry Condé and Tristan Paventi. Head coach Carlos Condé. Assistant coach Kristina Sarazin. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO