HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
WEEKEND WRAP: Only in Canada could a football team win a championship the way the Nepean Eagles bantam team did Sunday to conclude the National Capital Amateur Football Association A-Cup finals on Minto Field at the Sandy Ruckstuhl Gridirons.
Nepean and the Cumberland Panthers were deadlocked 14-14 with only a few seconds showing on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter. Overtime was on the horizon. On what appeared to be the final play of regulation time, the Panthers punted the ball deep into the Eagles’ zone, but couldn’t score a tie-breaking point.
But wait. There’s a flag. One of the officials called a no-yards penalty. The game cannot end, if there’s an on-field infraction. One more play was needed and Eagles were given the ball on the Panthers’ 40-yard line.
Eagles quarterback Dustin Rowe made the most of that moment.
Rowe dropped back to receive the long snap. Will he go for a touchdown on the final play with no time on the clock?
The moment the ball hit his hands, Rowe punted the ball in line-drive fashion to the left side of the field and it rolled through the end zone for the game-winning rouge or single point. The final play of the championships became the Play of the Day, according to NCAFA president Gawain Harding.
“It’s so Canadian. It’s wonderful,” Harding said.
Final score: Nepean 15, Cumberland 14.
Nepean and Cumberland teams were prominent in the A-Cup finals, which were named after Stephen Dean, who stepped down as NCAFA president in 2019 after 15 years of service. There was no minor football in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 season was played under strict health and safety protocols.
In Nepean’s other two final appearances, the organization’s newest team captured the midget title with a 28-8 decision over the Panthers, while the Kanata Knights shut out the Eagles 55-0 in the peewee championship. The Nepean midget team is known as the Broncos, which was formed in 2020 by the Eagles and the Myers Riders club.
Kanata recorded its first of two championships on the day, defeating Bell Warriors 30-22 in the mosquito 9-versus-9 final.
Cumberland and Cornwall Wildcats played in the tyke and mosquito finals and both sides produced a champion. The Panthers scored a 38-30 victory in the tyke game, and the Wildcats had a strong offence in the mosquito final for a 65-30 win.
The season will continue for the Broncos midgets, Nepean Eagles bantams, the Kanata Knights peewees as well as the tyke and mosquito finalists as they will advance to the inaugural Football Ontario Fall Cup.
The NCAFA midget, bantam and peewee champions will play their division winners from the Ontario Fall Football League in a single-game, provincial championship Nov. 20 at Esther Shiner Stadium in Toronto.
The tyke and mosquito teams will play a jamboree-style tournament on Nov. 21.
For the first time in NCAFA A-Cup history, spectators were charged to enter the football stadium on the grounds of the Nepean Sportsplex. But that initiative raised $10,000 to help cover the cost of bus travel for the seven teams.
The B-Cup champions were Bell Warriors, tyke; South Ottawa Mustangs, mosquito 9; Cumberland Panthers, peewee; and Orleans Jr. Raftsmen, bantam. The C-Cup winners were Orleans Bengals, tyke; West Carleton Wolverines, mosquito 9; South Gloucester Raiders, peewee; and Gatineau Vikings, bantam. North Gloucester Giants won the D-Cup tyke title.
GEE-GEES WOMEN’S RUGBY, RAVENS MEN’S SOCCER WILL PLAY IN NATIONALS
It’s playoff time for fall university sports, with two local teams now ready to play in national championships despite losing their last matches.
The Carleton Ravens men’s soccer team beat McMaster 3-1 in their Ontario quarter-final but then fell 1-0 in a tight Saturday semi-final where they outshot the undefeated Guelph Gryphons 11-3 on the road. The Ravens still have a guaranteed berth in the U Sports championships as hosts of the Nov. 18-21 event.
“The most positive thing that I want to take from everything is just that you learn your lessons,” Carleton coach Kwesi Loney said in a Ravens news release. “We as a team have been learning every step of the way, building more chemistry, playing with the best teams in the country. Now that’s all going to bring us to the culmination of nationals.”
It was unlucky number seven for the Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s rugby team as they fell 27-17 to the Laval Rouge et Or in Friday’s Quebec championship game, ending a run of six consecutive conference crowns for the Gee-Gees. But uOttawa’s earlier 37-7 home semi-final victory over the Montréal Carabins assured their place in the Nov. 10-14 Canadian championships at Queen’s.
The Gee-Gees football team will also be in Kingston that weekend for a Saturday semi-final tilt against the Golden Gaels following their 27-17 road victory over Toronto in Saturday’s Ontario quarter-final.
Carleton was knocked out of the football playoffs by Queen’s 41-14, while uOttawa women’s soccer fell to Queen’s 2-0 in their semi-final. Carleton took bronze in Quebec women’s rugby.
3 OTTAWA SOCCER CLUBS CAPTURE SEASON-ENDING PROVINCIAL CROWNS
Three local soccer teams who won league championships on the same day a couple weekends ago added to their prize collection with Ontario Player Development League Gary Miller Charity Shield titles in Vaughan.
The Ottawa South United Force under-14 girls blasted Markham 4-0, the Ottawa TFC U17 girls also downed Markham by a 3-1 count, and the West Ottawa Warriors U17 boys prevailed 2-1 over Oakville. The OSU U15 girls narrowly missed a Charity Shield title, falling 6-5 in penalty kicks to Markham after a 3-3 contest.
OTTAWA PAIR WIN MIXED DOUBLES CURLING TITLE
After a striking opening-match defeat, Ottawa’s Kira Brunton and Brett Lyon-Hatcher rebounded with five straight victories to win the Goldline Clermont mixed doubles curling competition in Clermont, Que.
Brunton and Lyon-Hatcher fell 11-2 to Tyler Parmiter and Ronnie Burgess of Fredericton in their opening round-robin game, but finished first in their preliminary pool at 2-1.
During the playoffs, they defeated defending champions Melissa Adams and Alex Robichaud of Saint John, N.B., 10-7 in the quarterfinals, Kelly Tremblay and Pierre Lanoue of Montreal 10-3 in the semifinals and Veronique Bouchard and Jean-Francois Charest of Saguenay, Que., 8-1 in the final.
DESCHENES, MULIMA RINKS COME CLOSE
Skips Emily Deschenes of Rideau Curling Club and Kibo Mulima of the RCMP Curling Club, who are part of Curl ON’s Next Gen program, fell one victory shy in the Ontario finals for the Curling Canada U21 world qualifier Nov. 22-28 in Saskatoon.
The Deschenes rink, which also included third Emma Artichuk, second Grace Lloyd and lead Evelyn Robert, captured its first four qualifying and playoff matches. But Deschenes lost to Alyssa Blad of the Dundas Valley Golf and Curling Club 7-3 in the final. In an earlier playoff round, Blad conceded to Deschenes 10-7.
The Mulima rink of third Jack Ragan, second Jacob Clarke and lead Riley Fung-Ernst won four games and their only three losses were at the hands of Scott Mitchell of the Whitby Curling Club.
After defeating Mulima 7-5 in qualifying and 9-6 in an early playoff round, Mitchell showed his consistency with a 9-6 victory in the final.
HOMAN RINK STILL STYMIED BY QUARTERFINALS
For the fourth time this season, Rachel Homan’s Ottawa Curling Club rink was eliminated in the quarterfinals. This time it happened at the $150,000 Boost National competition in Chestermere, AB.
After posting a 3-2 record in the 15-team, triple-knockout format, Homan lost to eventual champion Anna Hasselborg of Sweden 8-7 in her quarterfinal. Hasselborg (6-1) defeated Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, MB, 9-6 in the final.
NATIONAL CAPITAL RINKS IN CANADIAN MIXED CHAMPIONSHIP
The Canadian mixed curling championship has started in Canmore, AB., and Ottawa fans can follow two rinks: skip Mike McLean, third Erin Morrissey, second Kevin Tippett and lead Erica Hopson, Ottawa Curling Club, representing Ontario; and skip Jean-Michel Menard of Chelsea, third Marie-France Larouche, second Ian Belleau and lead Annie Lemay, Etchemin and Des Collines clubs, representing Quebec.
The McLean rink opened with a pair of wins, defeating Terry Miller of Whitehorse 10-2, and Jamie Newson of Charlottetown 10-3. The Menard quartet lost its first game 8-3 to Jamie Koe of Yellowknife, but defeated Peter Van Strien of Iqaluit 11-2 in its second.
UBC’S HUGH GRAHAM PULLS TO THREE NATIONAL ROWING MEDALS
Ashbury College grad Hugh Graham of Ottawa won a team silver and two bronze medals racing for the University of British Columbia at the Canadian university rowing championships in Welland, ON.
Graham placed third in the men’s lightweight single and joined Ethan Enns, Emerson Crick, Nicolas Schramm and coxswain Claire Cunningham for another bronze-medal showing in the lightweight four. He also helped UBC win silver in the men’s team classification.
Carleton University Ravens were sixth in the men’s team standings, while the University of Ottawa was 16th. On the women’s side, Ottawa was sixth and Carleton took 18th.
The Gee-Gees’ women’s open eight of Alyssa Pastic, Laura Vink, Fiona McGougall, Rhiannon Crichton, Gab Zitikyte, Vienna Scholten, Kerin Hudson, Laura Guy and coxswain Mia Lyons captured the bronze medal for the only trip to the podium by an Ottawa university.
Ottawa also had two fifth-place results from its women’s team, while Carleton had a fifth-, sixth- and seventh-place finish from its men’s side. Brendan Edge paced the Ravens with a seventh in the lightweight single and a sixth in the open eight with Loucas Diamant-Boustead, Patrick Gibson, Ben Koskowich, Josh Moffat, Declan McCoy, Scott Leslie, David Damas and coxswain Chris Breedy.
Carleton’s lightweight four of Mackenzie Vaughan-Graham, Conor Nicell, Brandan McIntyre, Owen Powell and coxswain Margaret Myers were fifth. The Gee-Gees’ fifth-place results came from Guy and Hudson in the open pair, and Kennedy Burrows, Jasmine Foreman, Pastic, Karolyn McGovern and coxswain Mary-Beth Foley in the lightweight fours.
Gee-Gees coach Stu McKenzie shared the women’s program coach-of-the-year award with Jane Gumley of the University of Victoria.
TWO SECTIONAL MEDALS FOR GLOUCESTER SKATING CLUB
Gloucester Skating Club was the only Ottawa club to earn a top-three result at the 2022 Skate Ontario sectional figure skating championships in Milton.
David Shteyngart won the short and long programs and captured the men’s novice singles title with 149.11 points for a 40-point win over his runner-up. Reese Rose was the women’s novice singles silver medallist, after winning the short program and placing second in the long program for 122.11 points.
DEVAN LARKIN COMPETES AT U23 WRESTLING WORLDS
National Capital Wrestling Club product Devan Larkin travelled to Serbia but only got to wrestle once at the U23 Wrestling World Championships, falling in his opening contest of the men’s 74 kg division to Uzbekistan’s Asomiddin Hasanov.
The University of Alberta wrestler from Ottawa trailed just 2-0 after the first period, but couldn’t make a dent into the deficit, eventually falling by technical superiority 11-0.
–with files from Dan Plouffe
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