FCC 2019: Alberta edges Ontario in dramatic bronze medal game finish
Alberta finishes third while Ontario settles for fourth in the tournament.
By Ameeta Vohra
Kingston, ON (July 13, 2019) – Two teams with their hopes of winning the 2019 Football Canada Cup on Wednesday dashed had to pick up the pieces while re-shifting their focus In the process.
Alberta came into this game facing two years of disappointment. In last year’s tournament, they lost the gold medal to Saskatchewan in the dying minutes in one of the most storied games in the Football Canada Cup tournament history 31-26.
On Wednesday, the team scored one of the most memorable buzzer ending moments in tournament history to propel them into a quadruple overtime battle against the team they shocked in the semi-finals in 2018. However, Quebec who was seeking revenge, won the game and left the Alberta team in heartache.
For Ontario, the team had medalled in each year’s tournament spanning from 2011-2017. Their streak ended at the hands of Quebec last year in Calgary. Additionally, Ontario has competed in four straight bronze medal games. Heading into the bronze medal game, the host team were determined to win bronze in front of the home crowd at Queen’s University’s Richardson Stadium.
In an intriguing and dramatic game from start to finish, Alberta hung on to edge Ontario 22-21 on Saturday afternoon in Kingston, Ontario to take home bronze. Ontario ended up fourth in this year’s tournament for the second consecutive year.
In the first quarter, both offences had shaky starts. On Ontario’s first drive of the game, quarterback Keagan Hall fumbled the ball and the team went three and out to turn the ball over to Alberta on downs.
As for Alberta, their first drive also resulted in turnover on downs to Ontario.
With 2:57 left in the quarter, linebacker Kosta Zannis recovered a fumble to give the ball back to Alberta. However, the team could not capitalize on the opportunity to get on the scoreboard first.
In the last minute of play in the first quarter, Ontario’s Jackson Cooling had a big run to the midfield line of the field.
Continuing the drive into the second quarter, William Cockfield caught a Hall pass and got the ball down deep in Alberta territory at the 13 yard line. On the next play, Zannis made another huge defensive play for Alberta, sacking Hall on first down.
After an incompletion on second down, kicker Zach Copeland attempted a 26 yard field goal but it went wide left and Alberta defensive back Charlie DeLand got it out of the end zone so Ontario couldn’t get at least a single point on the play.
The first point of the game came with 3:36 left in the half as Alberta got a rouge after a Charlie
Before the half, Ontario got a huge lift as Cooling tallied a 93 yard touchdown reception with 1:13 remaining.
An unexpected stoppage of the game occurred when Alberta defensive back Nathan Turner got injured with 46 seconds left before the half.
Once play resumed, Luc Nolin attempted a field goal but it went upright left and was no good.
At halftime, Ontario led Alberta 7-1
Alberta gained their composure and took over the lead 36 seconds into the third quarter when pivot Eli Hetlinger threw the ball to Jaden Casten who took iit all the way to the end zone for an 87 yard touchdown.
On the heels of a great drive, Hetlinger opted to sprint into the end zone for an 18 yard major to increase Alberta’s lead.
Ontario though would respond right back and gave the Kingston crowd something special to cheer about as Hall connected with local player Cockfield for a touchdown. Attempting a two-point conversion, Hall found Cooling in the end zone for the score to tie up the game.
However, Alberta pushed and it finally paid off with 3:50 left in the game. On 1st and goal, Hetlinger passed off the ball to running back Michael Delgado who walked into the end zone for a four yard major for the team to overtake the lead.
Ontario tried to make a final to win the game as their offence put forth a successfully executed drive and Alex Vreeken sneaks into the end zone to pull Ontario within one point. Attempting a two-point conversion, Hall’s pass to Cooling was incomplete and Ontario falls short.
Within the last minute of play, DeLand’s punt was blocked by Ontario and David Bazzo scooped it up to give Ontario a last minute chance in the game to win bronze.
Copeland attempted a 32 yard field goal to clinch it, but the ball sailed right and Alberta ran it out to the end zone to end the game and win bronze.
Offensive Players of the Game were running back Jaden Casten (Alberta) and receiver Jackson Cooling (Ontario). Defensive Players of the Game were linebacker Zosta Zannis (Alberta) and defensive lineman Jameson Eaves (Ontario).
It wasn’t easy, but Alberta was happy to secure the bronze medal in a highly competitive battle from start to finish.
“Obviously, both teams came off hard fought semi-finals and I thought the first half was a little bit sluggish,” commented Alberta head coach Darcy Park. “In the second half, both teams really played well.
There were big plays all over the field and all over the place. We’re just happy we came out on the end.”
As for Ontario, they were disappointed by the outcome in Saturday’s game but gave the home crowd a lot to cheer for in the bronze medal game.
“It was a great game for fans to come out and watch because it was a lot of back and forth,” said Ontario head coach JP Circelli. “It was a game that went down right to the wire and we had a chance to practice a lot of unique situations that we tried to prepare for during the course of the tournament and they came to fruition.”
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