Lively Hawks 20 Confederation Chargers 14
The offence of the Lively Hawks often draws attention, and usually for good reason, but it was a game-saving interception with just minutes to play that proved equally as important as the Hawks upended the Confederation Chargers 20-14 Thursday afternoon in Walden.
The respective defences, in fact, were key for much of the early part of the game, most notably after an opening drive by the visiting Chargers culminated with a short touchdown run from fullback Brandon Gaudette.
That 7-0 score remained intact until late in the third quarter when the fireworks truly began. Lively evened the contest at a touchdown apiece when Thomas Rideout bulldozed his way in for the major from one yard out.
Minutes later, the homeside nabbed its first lead of the game when QB Hunter Holub connected with J.J. Gaudin at the very back of the end zone, keeping his feet in bounds to give the Hawks a 14-7 advantage.
Back came the Chargers, in large part due to the work of Jordan Villeneuve, who returned a kickoff 27 yards and later hauled in a 23-yard pass from Confederation pivot Ethan Gorman.
After another pass-and-run play to Dylan Lloyd provided the visitors with the ball on the one, where it was Gaudette who would have his number called for his second touchdown of the game, with the teams deadlocked yet again.
The see-saw pattern was not about to take a break, as Lively answered with a drive of its own. After a 26-yard return from Gaudin gave Lively reasonable field position on their own 44-yard line, the Hawks stayed initially on the ground, running five straight rushing plays before Holub spotted receiver Dan Bell for a gain of 25.
Just two plays later, Rideout was riding in for his second major of the contest, darting through from the 13-yard line. Unfortunately for Lively coach Reg Bonin, a missed convert appeared to open the door for their opponents, with the Hawks holding on to a six-point margin (20-14).
Runs of 16 and nine from Gaudette set the stage for what was looking like a game-winning drive when Matt Barbeau stepped in front of a pass from Gorman at his own eight-yard line, returning the pick out to the 26.
Lively was not out of the woods quite yet, forced to gamble twice on fourth-down plays in order to ensure they would not hand the ball back to Confederation one last time, eventually running out the clock in improving to 2-1 on the year.
After capturing the B division final one year ago, the Hawks have continued their steady ascension, looking to catch some attention if they move to 3-1 with a win over the Bishop Carter Gators next week.
"I think it's just the experience," lineman Ben Autio said after the game. "We've had more time to develop, with many of us playing together for three years now."
Sidelined with injuries at various points during his high school career, Autio is taking full advantage of whatever playing time he can garner, complementing his natural spot with the defensive crew with some work on the offensive side of the ball as well.
"I started off on the d-line, so that’s my favourite, that’s my home, but I’ve adapted pretty well playing both," Autio said. "There’s a lot more rules to know on offence — you have to be smart to play the O-line."
Notre-Dame Alouettes 47 Lockerby Vikings 7
Six first-half interceptions and an offence that could not be stopped gave the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes far more of an advantage than they needed as coach Paul Gauthier and company remained unbeaten, pounding the Lockerby Vikings 47-7.
CND scored on their first four possessions with the ball, later adding to their final score of the opening half courtesy of a 110-yard interception return courtesy of Jordan Ouellette as the Als bolted to a 37-7 half-time lead.
After Notre-Dame quarterback Pat Lemieux hooked up with Jordan Lacelle and Matteo Vigna with touchdown passes of 16 and 10 yards, it was the kicker's turn to make a name for himself.
Vigna booted a 42-yard field goal, increasing the lead to 17-0, with Lemieux scampering 33 yards for the major on the second last play of the opening quarter.
A very young Lockerby crew countered, showing the promise of things to come when Alex McCullough found Sloan Sauvé on a 19-yard pass-and-run play, but that was it for the Vikings' scoring parade.
Mason Watt added a 32-yard touchdown run before Ouellette travelled the distance of the football field, from one goal line to the other, as Notre-Dame closed things off with 10 points in a second half that was dampened by the start of rain.
Defensively, Marcus Britt and Brett MacDonald were right in the thick of the thievery in the CND secondary, registering two interceptions apiece, with Ouellette and Jonathan Landry adding the others.
SDSSAA action resumes on Friday with Bishop Carter in tough against Lo-Ellen at 4 p.m. at the James Jerome Sports Complex, while the St. Benedict Bears and St. Charles College Cardinals go toe to toe at 7:30 p.m. in what promises to be a great matchup.