FCC2019: Host Ontario hangs on to victory despite late scare from British Columbia
By Ameeta Vohra
Kingston, ON (July 7, 2019) – Host Ontario gave the home crowd something to cheer about as the team pulled out a 16-14 win over fifth seeded British Columbia.
The fifth seeded Ontario squad move into the semi-final where they will meet defending champion Saskatchewan on Wednesday July 10, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. EST. As for British Columbia, they will square off against eighth seeded Nova Scotia in the consolation round at 9:00 a.m. EST that same day.
Ontario opened the scoring in the first quarter. At 1st and goal, quarterback Keagan Hall connected with Jackson Couling for a 7 yard touchdown. The one point conversion from Zach Copeland was good to give Ontario the early lead with 6:26 left in the quarter.
On the punt return, Copeland kicked the ball all the way to the end zone and British Columbia opts to take a knee. Ontario earns a single to increase their lead.
With 1:14 left in the quarter, Hall went deep and James Priestner caught the ball in the end zone. However, Ontario was penalized and the touchdown was called back. Towards the end of the 1st quarter, Hall was tackled by lineman Jackson McEwan for a forced fumble.
Discipline problems plagued Ontario in the second quarter as defensive lineman Payton Sheridan was called for holding running back Noah Anderson.
British Columbia has a chance to get some points on the scoreboard as Liam Reid attempted a 30 yard field goal within the first minute of the second quarter. However, his attempt went wide and Cooling returned it out of the end zone all the way out to Ontario’s 20 yard line.
Copeland attempted another field goal but it too went wide with under three minutes remaining before the half. British Columbia pivot Jay Mather threw an interception to Ontario defensive back Jacob Succar at the 37 yard line.
With 2:32 left before the half, Ontario quarterback Alex Vreeken threw a deep pass into British Columbia territory. William Cockfield caught it but Ontario was called on another penalty and the play was called back.
Vreeken was sacked by linebacker Clarian Davies with 1:20 left. However, British Columbia get picked off with 55 seconds remaining when Milton Roman made a huge hit on Mather to get the ball.
Ontario would increase their lead with 9.5 seconds before halftime as Hall connected with Cooling for a 27 yard major, his second of the game. Copeland’s PAT was successful.
At halftime, Ontario enjoyed a 16-0 lead over British Columbia.
Within the first two minutes of the third quarter, Ontario ran into discipline issues as the had three straight procedure calls.
However, British Columbia got a huge break and confidence booster with 6:12 remaining in the quarter. A huge defensive play by the secondary enabled Zach Smith and Riley Berfelo to lock Copeland’s punt return. Smith recovered the ball and dashed in to the end zone to pull the team within striking distance of Ontario.
With a momentum shift, Ontario continued to struggle on offence as Hall got sacked by Liam Reid and then a fake attempt by the team late in the quarter was not successful and they fell just short of the first down.
With 5:30 left in the game, Christian Carlon-Diaz sped into the end zone for a 44 yard score put British Columbia within two points of Ontario.
L.J Dyer rushed down the field to give Ontario good field position deep in British Columbia territory at the 35 yard line. Running back Teo Jean-Gaston sprints to get the ball just shy of the goal line but a costly penalty sent them back 10 yards. British Columbia took a penalty in the last 41 seconds and Ontario opted to play it safe and kneel down a couple of times to finish the game.
Offensive Players of the Game were receiver Jackson Cooling (Ontario) and running back Christian Carlon-Diaz (British Columbia). Defensive Players of the Game were defensive backs Milton Roman (Ontario) and Zack Smith (British Columbia).
Overall, the host team is thrilled to grab a win on home turf and the team knows they need to tweak things a bit more so they are game ready for Saskatchewan on Wednesday.
“Anytime you can win a game in a tournament like this and against a quality team like British Columbia, we’re happy,” commented Ontario head coach JP Circelli. “It’s a positive outcome for us.”
“Of course, just like any coach, there still some things we need to clean up and work on but our biggest concern is we won the football game.”
British Columbia had a difficult time establishing a tempo and rhythm and it costed them as it was too little too late.
“I knew we could come out and play hard,” said British Columbia head coach Cory Philpot. “It’s just that we came up short.”
Those first and second quarters just hurt us a little bit and we just didn’t get things moving the way we needed. We finally played better in the second half and made some plays but we came short.”