After going 3-for-4 in the National Capital Amateur Football Association A-Cup championships last season, the Cumberland Panthers Football Club was at risk of being shut out this year.
With the tyke and mosquito teams both going down in defeat on the weekend and the peewee side falling in the semi-finals, it was left up to the club's U16 bantam team to triumph in the club's last remaining shot at an A-Cup.
In a classic matchup between a ground and pound offence and a quick strike aerial attack, it was the ground game that came out on top as Panthers running back Shiloh Mukendy ran for 175 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead his team to a 27-15 win over the Nepean Eagles.
The Panthers didn't waste any time in getting on the scoreboard. They scored on the opening drive of gane on three straight carries by Mukendy culminating in a 34-yard pass from quarterback Vincent Anderson.
Neither team would score again until the Panthers opening drive of the second half. Mukendy carried the ball three straight times, covering 52 yards, for his second touchdown of the game. Nathan Melsness would add the extra point to give the Panthers a 13-0 lead.
The Eagkes reponded on the very next series with a 58-yard touchdown pass on their first play from scrimmage to narrow the score to 13-7.
After the ensuing kick-off, the Panthers marched the ball 85 yards in eight plays culminating with a one-yard touchdown run by Mukendy. Another extra point would guve the Panthers a 20-7 advantage,
The Panthers then caught the Eagles off guard with an onside kick that was successfully recovered by Charles Dim on Nepean's 50-yard line. Four plays later, Gavin Poirier ran the ball in from the six yards out to extend the Panthers' lead to 27-7.
Any hope of a possible Eagles comeback were snuffed out thanks to back to back miscues. The first was an interception on their first play from scrimmage by Gariency Riviere. The second was on a roughing the kicker call which gave the Panthers a fresh set of downs when the Eagles were on the verge of getting the ball back.
When Eagles finally did get the ball back they managed to put together a 78-yard drive marked by back-to-back passes, both covering 27 yards, for a touchdown and a two point comversion to narrow the score to 27-17. But by then it was too little too late as the Panthers managed to recover the ensuing onside kick and run out the clock for the victory.
Mukendy ended the game with 175 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. He also caught the ball twice for another 37 yards.
But Mukendy wasn't the only one who factored into the Panthers' offence. Gavin Poirier carried the ball seven times for 46 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Vincent Anderson ended the game with 18 yards on two carries to go along with his three completions covering 77 yards and a touchdown.
As a team, the Panthers racked up 375 in total offence and made eight first downs, but they were also penalized 10 times for 95 yards.
For their part the Eagles had 332 yards in total offence and 10 first downs. They were also penalized six times for 60 yards.