Ontario Regional Junior Football
(aka Junior Metro Bowl)
Click below for:
Notre Dame (Welland) vs. Richview (Toronto)
Notre Dame 23, St Marcellinus 13
Richview 25, Thomas A. Stewart 14
30, Assumption College 0
St Marcellinus 36, Nelson 23
Stewart 28, Pickering 14
Richview 44, St Michaels College 27
Semi-final Press Report
November 26, 2016
An historic run for the Thomas A. Stewart Griffins junior football team came to an end Saturday afternoon in Toronto.
But Vik Kulla, offensive coach to head coach Jeff Challice, believes the team's success was a unifying force within a student body that has integrated students from Lakefield District and Peterborough Collegiate in recent years.
The Griffins lost a hard fought 25-14 nod to Toronto's Richview Saints in the Metro Bowl semifinal at St. Michael's College stadium.
It's the furthest a TASSS football team has ever gone since the creation of bowl games beyond COSSA. Earlier this month the Griffins won their first Kawartha and COSSA junior championships in 42 years, since 1974 when Challice and Kulla were six.
Kulla felt their success, a 10-1 record, was a rallying point for the school.
“A couple of years ago PCVS closed and a lot of people were reluctant to come to TASSS. That's now smoothed over,” said Kulla. “This year they closed Lakefield and that hurt a lot of people in that community and a lot of students and staff. I think this group of kids has done a great job in bringing all those groups of kids together.
“At a time when our school needed something like this this football team has made that transition from two schools to one,” said Kulla. “Having coaches like Mike Goble, Dave Donald and Mac Arnott come on board has also been great for us or else we wouldn't have a senior and junior program without those guys.”
“We made it further than any Thomas A. Stewart football team has ever made it,” Challice said, “and the coaches couldn't be prouder of the kids if we'd won the whole thing. We had a really good season. We're proud of what they did and what we accomplished as a team.”
Kyle Milburn capped a long Griffins' drive with a five-yard run to tie the game 7-7 after Jake Zajac's convert. Zajac, the team's starting tailback and most prolific scorer, left the game in the second quarter with a suspected concussion.
Richview built the lead to 19-7 with two unconverted scores. Ansh Soni returned the kickoff from the third major 70 yards for a touchdown to draw TASSS within 19-14 at half-time. Kal Sager kicked the convert. Richview put the game out of reach with a TD early in the fourth quarter.
Richview's third score was on a long run by their back-up quarterback, after their starter was forced out by injury. Challice said it turned out to be the game's key play.
“It hurt. It put us down more than a touchdown and made it difficult to come back,” he said. “The boys played amazing. They didn't quit and worked hard the whole game. We fought every inch of the way. (Richview) were very athletic and very organized.”
“We played about as hard as we could play,” Kulla said.
The loss of Zajac was a big one, he said.
“We moved some players around and tried to gut it out,” he said. “We met a really strong team today. They were organized and had some good athletes.”
Kulla noted Richview had a full complement of offensive and defensive units while TASSS had a total of 26 players with eight players playing both ways.
“That catches up to you,” he said.
Kulla said more players tried out for the TASSS junior boys' volleyball team than football.
“We're not quite there, yet, but we'd like to think we're taking steps in the right direction to hopefully build a good program,” said Kulla.
Quarter-Final Press Reports
Notre Dame 30, Assumption College 0
November 22, 2016
The Assumption College Lions junior football team met its match Tuesday at Kiwanis Field.
Hosting Welland's Notre Dame College School in a Junior Metro Bowl quarter-final playoff game, Assumption lost 30-0.
"We knew they were going to be a good team but obviously this game we did not play to our potential at all," said ACS head coach Dan Padmore.
The Lions received to start the game and it wasn't long before the Brant County champions switched to defence, going four and out.
Notre Dame took over on Assumption's 32-yard line following a short punt and wasted little time getting down near the goal line. Facing a fourth and goal from the three-yard line, the Irish's Jacob Snider scored the game's first touchdown.
Following a failed convert attempt, the score stood at 6-0 with 6:06 to play in the opening quarter.
During the first quarter, Assumption suffered a blow when quarterback Justin Riley was forced out with an injury.
"He's a huge part of our team," said Padmore.
Facing a fourth and long from Notre Dame's 30-yard line early in the second quarter, Assumption opted to try for a 37-yard field goal but the attempt was no good.
The visitors then held onto the ball for about seven minutes, marching down to their opponent's 11-yard line but ended up turning over the ball. On first and 10, a Notre Dame ball carrier fumbled and ACS running back Adrian Henry-Popielec, who had just come onto the field to help on defence, picked up the loose ball.
A few plays later, the Lions gave up a safety to fall behind 8-0 with less than two minutes remaining in the half.
With massive tackles Gerrid Holton and Tyler D'Angelo anchoring the offensive line, Notre Dame constantly ran draws and counters on their way to finding the backside of the twin towers. Throwing the ball just once, the Irish still held an advantage in possession and territory.
"They're just two big bodies, that's all it really is," Padmore said of the tackles. "They're no different than what we've seen before. They're just a bit bigger."
One positive for the Lions heading into the second half was the fact that the Irish had trouble holding onto the ball, fumbling at least four times. However, the Lions could only recover once.
After playing four downs in the first half, the game switched to three downs in the second.
On Assumption's first touch of the third quarter, punt returner Riley McEnhill gained about 30 yards - the team's biggest play of the game - but that gain was wiped out by a pair of penalties.
Back on defence, Assumption was hit by another major penalty but escaped when its defence recovered its second fumble of the game.
Neither team could find the scoreboard in the third quarter.
On its first possession of the fourth quarter, with 2:21 played, the Irish scored another touchdown. Taking over deep in Assumption's half following a short punt, Snider ran the first play from scrimmage into the end zone from 11 yards out.
Once again the convert was no good, putting the score at 14-0. Soon after, Notre Dame's lead increased to 16-0 following another safety surrendered by the Lions,
With 6:21 left on the clock, Irish quarterback Hunter Cropper completed his first pass of the game - on his second attempt - hitting Jared Tessier for a 62-yard touchdown. Holton kicked the convert.
Notre Dame then added one more converted touchdown to complete the scoring.
Padmore praised his players.
"I'm very proud of these guys, I just wish we could have kept going," said the coach, who thanked his staff for its hard work.
Notre Dame, the Niagara Zone 3 champion and undefeated at 10-0, advances to the Junior Metro Bowl semifinals on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Michael's College in Toronto. Notre Dame will play the winner of a Tuesday quarter-final between Burlington's Nelson and Mississauga's St. Marcellinus
The final is Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. at St. Michael's.
Thomas A. Stewart 28, Pickering 14
November 22, 2016
The Thomas A. Stewart Griffins junior football team hasn't been pushed many times this season but when challenged Tuesday they pushed back.
The Griffins built a 14-0 lead, saw it evaporate then responded to beat the Pickering Trojans 28-14 in the Metro Bowl quarter-final at the Thomas A. Stewart Athletic Field.
The Griffins advance to the semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Eugene Melnyk Sports Field at St. Michael's College in downtown Toronto.
They will play the winner of Wednesday's game between St. Mike's and Richview. They are seeking to become the first Peterborough school to advance past the Metro Bowl junior semifinal.
The key moment of the game came right after Pickering tied the game 14-14 with 3:34 left in the third-quarter. On the ensuing kick-off Robin French ran 25 yards to get the Griffins to midfield. A 10-yard penalty to Pickering and a series of first-down runs by Jake Zajac set up a three-yard plunge by Kyle Milburn.
"It was great for the offence to take the ball and drive it down and score," said TASSS head coach Jeff Challice. "It was huge. It put the momentum back in our direction.
"We are so proud of our guys because when it was 14-14 (Pickering) had all the momentum," Challice said. "Our guys could have packed it in and they absolutely did not. They rallied."
The Griffins didn't allow Pickering past midfield the rest of the game. With 52 seconds left TASSS ran the trick play, the eight-man pick, which won them the Kawartha final against Adam Scott. Braeden Bruce scored on a 40-yard run.
Earlier this month the Griffins won their first junior Kawartha and COSSA titles in 42 years. This is all uncharted territory for this group.
"It feels good, we've never had this before," Tye Wesenberg said. "Our mindset when they tied it up was just get back in the game and don't give up.
"I think heart was the difference in the game."
"I know Crestwood a couple of years ago made it to this level," Challice said. "I don't know of very many others who have. We just want to keep it going. All the guys want to keep playing."
Pickering coach John Martini said the play of Bruce and Zajac was the difference.
"Their offence and little trick plays here and there worked well and they were the better team today," Martini said. "We thought we had them in the second half and things didn't work out very well. We started off very well and had a little letdown on defence and that was it."
The Griffins scored on their first offensive play of the game as Zajac broke free for a 55-yard TD run. Ansh Soni scored on a short run with 3:33 left in the first half. Zajac converted all four majors.
Pickering found their legs late in the first half driving the ball for the first time. Jacob Woodhouse came up with a key interception for TASSS with 22 seconds left in the half.
Pickering picked it up again in the third quarter with Maliq Williams finishing off a drive 2:30 into the third quarter. He scored again from one yard with 3:34 left in the third quarter. It capped a 55-yard drive. Ziyad Aboo converted both sores.
Tournament Information / Background
The tournament, which is now commonly referred to as the Junior Metro Bowl, was reintroduced
in 2002 following a five year absence, as the 'Ontario Regional Junior Football Championship'.
The reintroduction was done by St. Michael's College Junior Head Coach Frank Ribarich in response to many leagues seeking play downs following their league championship game.
The goal of this tournament is to have as many associations as possible participating. The 2016 tournament has grown and a total of ten Athletic Associations along with one "At Large" invitation.
The 2016 tournament will see ten different leagues competing along with Huron Heights from Newmarket, which was given an "At large" invitation as the York Region schools with only two Junior football schools did not conduct a Junior league in 2016.. Huron Heights did play two games against Bill Crothers Secondary School and there apparently was a "Gentlemen's Agreement" that the school which was victorious would participate in the tournament.
Although each participating league champion is invited, they may chose to decline due to the number of games potentially played over a short time span. Should a league champion decline, the runner up is given the opportunity to participate. The last league champion to decline to particiapte was Ashbury College (CISAA) in 2011.
The following schools will be participating:
CWOSSA: Brant County League Champion - Assumption College, Brantford
CISAA: Association Champion - St. Michaels College, Toronto
COSSA: Association Champion - Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School, Peterborough
GHAC: Halton League Champion - Nelson High School, Burlington
LOSSA: Association Champion - Pickering High School, Ajax
ROPSSAA: Association Champion - St. Marcellinus Secondary School, Mississauga
SOSSA: Niagara Catholic League Champion - Notre Dame College School, Welland
SOSSA: Niagara Public League Champion - Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School, Ridgeway
TDCAA: Association Champion - Michael Power - St Joseph High School, Toronto
TDSSAA: Association Champion - Richview Collegiate Institute, Toronto
YRAA: At Large Invitation - Huron Heights Secondary School, Newmarket
Previous Championship Game Results
2015 - CISAA (St. Michael's College Kerry Blues, Toronto) 38, GHAC (Nelson Lords, Halton, Burlington) 7
2014 - ROPSSAA (St Roch Catholic Secondary School Ravens, Brampton) 3, CISAA (St. Michael's College Kerry Blues, Toronto) 1
2013 - SOSSA/Niagara (A N Myer Secondary School Marauders, Niagara Falls) 45, LOSSA (Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School Saints, Oshawa) 21
2012 - LOSSA (Pickering High School, Ajax) 30, SOSSA (Blessed Trinity Thunder, Grimsby) 27
2011 - CWOSSA (Assumption College Lions, Brant, Burlington) 37, LOSSA (Donald A. Wilson Gators, Whitby) 28
2010 - GHAC (Nelson Lords, Halton, Burlington) 25, LOSSA (Donald A. Wilson Gators, Whitby) 16
2009 - LOSSA (Donald A. Wilson Gators, Whitby) 40, CISAA (St. Michael's College Kerry Blues, Toronto) 28
2008 - CISAA (St. Michael's College Kerry Blues, Toronto) 20, SOSSA (Blessed Trinity Thunder, Grimsby) 9
2007 - GHAC (Notre Dame Fightin Irish, Halton, Burlington) 34, LOSSA (St. Mary Monarchs, Pickering) 7
2006 - SOSSA (Lakeshore Catholic (Niagara, Port Colborne) 13, CISAA (St. Michael's College Kerry Blues, Toronto) 3
2005 - GHAC (Assumption Crusaders, Halton, Burlington) 15, LOSSA (Donald A.Wilson Gators, Whitby) 7
2004 - CISAA (St. Michael's College Kerry Blues, Toronto) 7, SOSSA (Lakeshore Catholic Gators, Niagara, Port Colborne) 6
2003 - GHAC (Nelson Lords, Halton, Burlington) 35, CISAA (St. Michael's College Kerry Blues, Toronto) 6
2002 - CISAA (St. Michael's College Kerry Blues, Toronto) 20, SOSSA (Notre Dame Fightin Irish, Niagara, Welland) 19
Prior to 2002, there were at least three Junior Metro Bowl games played. We believe these games were coordinated by John Novak from Michael Power / St. Joseph.
1997 - TDSSAA (West Hill Warriors, Toronto) 39, LOSSA (Pickering Trojans, Ajax) 6
1996 - YRAA (Markham Marauders, Markham) 27, TDCAA (Michael Power / St. Joseph Trojans, Toronto) 26
1995 - TDCAA (Henry Carr Crusaders, Toronto) 31, TDCAA (Michael Power Trojans, Toronto) 26
Additional data to follow.