Under-16 Eastern Challenge: Quebec wins back-to-back championships after defeating host Ontario
Bouchard, MacDonald and Tremblay named tournament MVPs
By Ameeta Vohra
Kingston, Ontario (July 12, 2019) – A big second half powered Quebec towards their second consecutive gold medal at the Under-16 Eastern Challenge on Friday evening.
After winning the championship in 2018, Quebec successfully defended their title with a 28-7 win over Ontario at Queen’s University’s Richardson Stadium.
For Ontario, the team claimed their second silver medal in tournament history. Previously, the team got silver at the 2017 tournament in Nova Scotia. Last year, Ontario got bronze in Guelph, Ontario.
On the first drive, Ontario could not get anything going and started with a 3 and out situation.
Ontario kicker Michael Horvat kneels in the end zone 1:12 into the first quarter to concede a safety to Quebec for the first points of the game.
On the subsequent punt return, Quebec returned the ball for a 75 yard touchdown, only for it to be recalled due to a penalty.
With 7:23 left in the first frame, Samuel Tremblay added a 37 yard field goal to increase Quebec’s lead 5-0 over Ontario.
Ontario continued to push in their quest to score. With the ball on the one yard line, quarterback Mason Lajoie tried to sneak into the end zone, but Quebec’s defence stifles him.
However, Lajoie would succeed on his attempt. With 5:08 remaining on 2nd and goal, Lajoie pushes his way into the end zone for a major to give Ontario a 7-5 lead.
Quebec would respond before the end of the half as pivot Dionnyssios Stamiris passed the ball off to Simon Potvin who delivered by sprinting into the end zone for a 39 yard touchdown to give lead back to the team.
Before the end of the half, Ontario would help Quebec extend their lead by conceding a safety.
In the first half, Quebec’s defence made huge plays, stopping Ontario running back Ethan Dolby often, knowing how dangerous he can be after putting in a four touchdown performance in Tuesday’s game against New Brunswick.
Equally, both teams ran into discipline issues which costed them scoring chances and field positioning.
At halftime, Quebec held a 14-7 lead over Ontario.
In their first drive of the second half, Quebec’s offence was moving the ball down the field well. The culmination of that drive was a score for the defending champions as Zachary Bouchard rushed into the end zone for a 30 yard major with 7:56 left in the third quarter.
With 6:54 remaining in the game, Quebec added assurance as Stamiris once again connected with Potvin for a touchdown. It was Potvin’s second score of the game.
Quebec’s defence is on point as linebacker Luca Andreozzi sacked Lajoie on their first play of Ontario’s offence drive.
With 1:55 left, Ontario made one last push and got into the end zone; however, the team drew a penalty and the touchdown was recalled and the team was not able to mount anything further against the champions.
Offensive Players of the Game were receiver Simon Potvin (Quebec) and running back Roy Van der Veen (Ontario). Defensive Players of the Game were linebackers Darnley Felix (Quebec) and Mateo Afanih (Ontario).
While Quebec was dominant throughout the tournament, the team had to overcome adversity in the first half due to discipline issues. However, the team is fortunate and thrilled to have won back-to-back championships.
“The guys fought really hard; it was a tough game at first,” commented Quebec head coach Kevin Regimbald Gagne. “In the first half, we had a bunch of penalties but then we became stronger in the second half.”
While disappointed by the outcome and had to settle for silver, host Ontario were competitive from start to finish.
“My guys fought really hard and I’m really proud of them,” said Ontario head coach Joe Cappiello. “I had a great staff that really prepared them for the game and I think they really did a good job.”
Tournament MVPs were Quebec running back Zackary Bouchard (offence), Nova Scotia defensive back Alexander MacDonald (Nova Scotia) and Quebec’s Samuel Tremblay (special teams).
This post is also available in: French