It was 18 months in the making, but when the SDSSAA high-school sports schedule returned, it came back with a vengeance.
The week of September 20th to the 25th was chocked full of great action, with one set of city champions crowned while several other individuals and teams served notice that they have SDSSAA hardware on their minds.FOOTBALL
The cancellation of the season opener between the Lively Hawks and St Charles College Cardinals due to COVID concerns left the door wide open for teams other than SCC to step up – and no one did so more emphatically than the afore-mentioned Hawks.
Originally scheduled for a pair of games in Week 1 of the Senior Football schedule, the Lively lads busted open a close game on Saturday with 33 unanswered points, derailing the Confederation Chargers 40-7.
Quarterback Brek Morrow (who split time with veteran Bennett Sobiera) connected with wideout Ryan Remington for TD completions of 85 and 17 yards, adding a 20 yard toss to Bradley Halonen, while multi-faceted grade 11 talent Owen MacDonald punched it home twice from inside the five as Lively rotated about eight or so key players, all of whom played either offense or defense at various times.
“I’m a huge fan of offense,” said MacDonald, lining up as a linebacker on the opposite side of the ball and joining both Jaxson Stos and Ryan Remington in recording interceptions for the winners. “I get the ball quite a bit and capitalized twice today. The energy our team had was just amazing. As soon as we got that first touchdown, it electrified the entire field.”
Brek Morrow added another major while Ryan Ricci converted four of the TDs, with running back Quentin Harris punching it home for the only score for the Chargers (PAT - Braeden Beggs). The Chargers most consistent threats when they had the ball were either Harris or wide receiver/returner Ryan Ward, who hauled in a handful of passes from QB Dylan Paquette.
As noted above, the Hawks rotated the gents under centre, with both Morrow and Sobiera receiving plenty of playing time. "I have more experience with Brek because I played with him in grade nine, but Bennett is also a really good quarterback," said MacDonald.
"I do have to adjust sometimes, because they have a little different game plan, but they are both strong quarterbacks."
In the only other senior game, the Lo-Ellen Park Knights scored on their first possession and added a second TD early in quarter two (both by QB Adam Pagan on short runs), holding on for a 16-6 win over the St Benedict Bears.
Riding the running game of Liam Conlin, a few key completions from Pagan, notably to Bryce Desabrais, along with a pair of interceptions and a big punt return by Carter Will, the Knights did enough offensively to leave it in the hands of a defensive unit that excelled.
“I really liked our pass rush – I think Jamie Burrell had three sacks on his own – and we were also able to shut down the run quite a bit, which was awesome,” said new head LOE head coach Alex Vendramin. “All in all, the defense let up some yards but really, they were bend and not break, shutting them down when it came time for a stop.”
Rounding out the scoring for the Knights were Carter Will (PAT) and Steven Sola (2 pt conversion), while Brandon Salem bulldozed his way in on the final play of the game, breaking the shutout bid for the Bears.
Junior football also got going last week with the Lasalle Lancers opening a ton of eyes with a 26-8 win over the St Charles College Cardinals. Running back Zidain Allen crossed the goal line on four occasions, while speedy Cardinals’ threat Derek Idehen responded with the lone score for SCC.
“There were no expectations going into this game,” suggested coach Brandon Dougan, who has made the move from Confederation to Lasalle and has teamed up with J.J. McKnight and a number of familiar football faces to help rebuild the program at Lasalle. “The kids have really bought in.”
“We were a little nervous at first; we only had 23 or 24 players showing up consistently at practice. We told the kids that we can’t run it with those numbers, we need ten more. The next thing you know, they’re bringing out new kids on their own.”
Like most teams, the Lancers can boast only a very select number of juniors who have had any formal football experience in the past, a fact not lost in the least on a man who has been around the sport in Sudbury for several decades now.
"We started with the basics - and the players are at practice every day, getting better every day," said Dougan. "They seem to be having fun, they care and they are trying hard. It was our first game and we made a bunch of mistakes, just like everybody else."
"That was expected."
A record setting number of flag football teams also hit the field last week in three different divisions. Coverage this upcoming week will focus heavily on the young ladies, as programs ranging from Confederation to Lo-Ellen and Marymount, along with the likes of Horizon, Macdonald-Cartier and Bishop Carter all work to assert themselves.GOLF
A pair of first time winners emerged as the 2021 SDSSAA golf champions on an absolutely miserable day at Lively Golf Course last week.
Kelley Walker; Kate Somek; Christie Sitko: those are the names that Lea Lemieux is chasing.
The grade nine student and highly touted young golfer at Lockerby Composite claimed a ten stroke victory in her first high-school golf championship, carding an 89, well ahead of Emily Dambremont of St Benedict.
The trio above are the only women to walk away with the title on four occasions during their time at secondary school, a goal that would seem to be highly realistic for Lemieux, a regular on local and provincial junior golf circuits the past few years.
On the boys side, it was Ethan Mulligan of Lo-Ellen who would battle his way to victory thanks to a one over par round of 72, two strokes better than teammate Johnny Svalina. “It was tough out there,” said Mulligan, a 17 year-old grade 12 student at LOE and member of the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club.
“You had to stay focused and just play smart. We definitely had to hit some lower shots out there, just because the wind was pretty crazy and it was colder, so the ball wasn’t flying as far. The conditions were bad but I hit the ball very well and made a lot of putts.”
The Lo-Ellen quartet of Mulligan, Svalina, Nik Harry and Griffin Jones captured four of the top five spots, adding a different feel to the event for the new champion. “I find this one more fun just because it’s a team event with all of my buddies, so you’re trying to play good for them and yourself,” said Mulligan.
“It’s definitely less stressful for cities. Me and Johnny are always trying to beat each other – just competing with each other is what makes it fun.”Boys Top Ten
1 - Ethan Mulligan (LOE) - 72
2 - Johnny Svalina (LOE) - 74
3 - Jake Dubowsky (STB) - 77
4 - Nik Harry (LOE) - 78
5 - Griffin Jones (LOE) - 79
6 - Benjamin Hickey (SC) - 79
7 - Ryan Remington (LIV) - 79
8 - Keenan Castle (STB) - 81
9 - Atom Thususka (LCS) - 85
10 - Connor Di Salle (LOE) - 85
11 - Nicholas Denis (HOR) - 85
Girls Top Five
1 - Lea Lemieux (LCS) - 89
2 - Emily Dambremont (STB) - 99
3 - Grace Crowder (LCS) - 111
4 - Julia Hayes (LOE) - 113
5 - Zoe Asselin (CND) - 115
Finally, Lo-Ellen Park junior runner Sam Rice recorded the fastest race of the day as the SDSSAA cross-country season kicked off with preliminary race #1 at Kivi Park. Posting a time of 14:18, Rice was eight seconds better than OFSAA top-ten finisher and senior boys race winner Carson Crane of Confederation as schools ran only with their own teammates in deference to COVID protocols.
“Really, I just tried to go fast,” suggested Rice, as the athletes dealt with what was more or less a time trial. “My main goal was to pass as many people as I could while staying at a really fast pace.”
A very talented nordic skier in his own right, the 15 year old grade 10 speedster was more than ready to finally test himself against the clock. “Colin Ward is such a good coach,” said Rice. “During the summer, we developed a running base. We had some intense hill workouts, but we also played games to encourage us.”
“We did enough training over the summer, which really helped going into the races.”
On top of that, there was a least some familiarity with the network of trails. "We ran a few days before (at Kivi), so we knew the course," said Rice. "There were a few big hills, so I kept those in my mind."
"I would start to give it some speed just before so I could go up the hills fast."
Following are the top three in each of the six age brackets:Senior Boys – Carson Crane (CFD); Travis Annett (LCS); Brandon Radey (LAS)
Senior Girls – Mia Toner (SC); Alison Symington (LOE); Abby Lanteigne (LCS)
Junior Boys – Sam Rice (LOE); Owen Dobson (LOE); Jacob Barney (LOE)
Junior Girls – Lauren Pineau (LCS); Georgia Lepage (STB); Ava Hodgins (LAS)
Novice Boys – Adam Urso (SCC); Nico Labrecque (LOE); Max Portelance (CND)
Novice Girls – Lucia Salmaso (MMT); Gracie Dale (LOE); Maija Nener (LOE)