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Colts break free in second half of NOSSA junior football final
2023-11-06
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The Korah Colts already had ample reasons motivating them to vanquish the Lively Hawks in the NOSSA Junior Football final Saturday afternoon at the James Jerome Sports Complex.

Surrendering an on-side kick on the opening kickoff and watching the Hawks march the length of the field, methodically, capping their initial drive with a touchdown run from Riley Kirwan clearly did not sit well with the visitors.

Leading just 14-7 with a minute remaining in the opening half while representing the city (Sault Ste Marie) that has captured every single NOSSA junior boys football final since the championship re-emerged in 2013 only added further fuel to the fire.

So when the Colts exploded, they exploded big time.

A short touchdown run by Payton Melchiore extended the advantage to 21-7 before the break but it was the third touchdown of the day for running back Koen Manulenko with 8:51 remaining in quarter three that really set off the fireworks.

Just over two minutes later, the Korah advantage had mushroomed to 41-7 with the teams trading four quarter touchdowns. Gevin Grisdale, Drew Albury and Lucas Joly also reached the end zone for the winners, with Logan Downey adding a late score for Lively and Cameron MacIntosh making good on the PAT early in the game.

For the most part, Lively coach Reg Bonin had little to complain about the first 23 of the 24 minutes of half number one. "I was pleased with our defense," stressed Bonin. "We rallied to the ball; they earned their scores."

"On offense, our first drive was what we were hoping to be able to do all game."

And while many might be content to point to the physical discrepencies between the two rosters and the legacy of Sault Ste Marie domination that is clear in both the junior and senior football ranks, Bonin was having none of it.

"Today was no different than any other game that we've played," he noted. "We're always undersized. We play St Ben's, we play St Charles and those teams are enormous. With these guys (Korah), it wasn't any different."

"We just have to execute. I admire our kids because they're tough - but we have to rely on our technique."

Upsetting the St Benedict Bears 21-0 in the SDSSAA final after being waxed 49-7 by the same opponent just a few weeks earlier in regular season play would give some the ability to look at the Saturday NOSSA matchup as gravy, an added bonus, if you will.

Again, Bonin had other thoughts.

"We want to compete at the NOSSA level," he stressed. "Clearly, we have to take care of business in the city - but if we put in the work 12 months of the year, which is what it takes to compete at this level, we feel that we can - and we'll keep working at it."

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