Golden Gaels Photos
Queen's Golden Gaellery by Jeff Chan
OVFL - Kingston VR at Markham 20130803
Grenadiers 17, Raiders 34
GRENADIERS' SEASON ENDS WITH PLAYOFF LOSS AT MARKHAM
By Claude Scilley, SportKingston
As symbolism goes, it was perfect. A receiver open in the end zone; a beleaguered quarterback spots him there. With time to throw he seldom enjoyed on this night, the QB delivers possibly his best toss of the game. And the ball hits the goal post with a thud heard throughout Mount Joy Park.
It was far too late in a game already lost for the mishap to be considered meaningful. Given what had already gone on in an Ontario Varsity Football League playoff game the Kingston Grenadiers would eventually lose 34-17 to the Markham Raiders, it was, however, typical.
This was a game in which the Grenadiers would make just about every mistake in the book, and be victimized by almost every bit of bad luck that can befall a football team. None of the miscues was so catastrophic as to be singularly blame-worthy for the resounding defeat but together they were insurmountable.
On this cool, clear and breezy evening, the Grenadiers would miss blocks that ended up in tackles behind the line of scrimmage, they would drop passes, mis-throw passes, fumble punts, drop a handoff, shank a punt, and miss a field goal 14 yards shorter than one they’d made barely three minutes earlier.
Luckless? Starting quarterback Dylan Bell would injure his shoulder and come out of the game for good on the team’s second possession. Their opponent would fumble three times, and get them all back. On a fake punt that would be Kingston’s last gasp, the back taking the direct snap runs into one of his own players, pushed backwards by a Markham lineman.
Markham scored a touchdown on a play where the receiver was covered so closely he had to catch the ball by turning and extending his arms back — one to either side of the defender’s head — essentially catching it with the defender’s helmet between his elbows. That about covers the spectrum, right? At least, it did until Dylan Fisher hit a two-inch piece of pipe, square on, from about 20 yards away. As waiting receiver Nate Kellar turned his palms upright at his sides at the back of the end zone, his exasperated body language said it clearly: OK, now I’ve seen it all.
Even packaged in such tiny increments, it’s difficult to overcome that kind of hardship, Grenadiers coach Tim Pendergast said. “The ball hit the turf three times for them in the first half, they recovered them all. Three times on the turf for us and they recovered two,” Pendergast said, starting his own mental list of adverse events.
“With the size of our offensive line we were getting a great push but one guy messes up, it stops the play and then you’re in second and long and it’s tough. “They’re a good football team and we didn’t make the breaks happen for us.”
Two unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter broke open a 10-point ball game for Markham, which qualified for the Wettjes conference final next weekend against the undefeated Ottawa Myers Riders, who defeated the Cornwall Wildcats 56-7 in Saturday’s other conference playoff game.
Misfortune beset the Grenadiers early when quarterback Dylan Bell re-injured his shoulder on Kingston’s second series and by the time the first half ended, the Grens had committed four turnovers.
Nonetheless the Kingston defence was stout and Markham had just one touchdown, on a 69-yard run by Nicholas Morassut. The only turnover that led to a score was a fumble at the Kingston 25-yard line late in the second quarter that the Grenadiers limited to a Julian Gutierrez field goal.
A 42-yard field goal by Mike Bashall at 13:07 of the second quarter got the Grenadiers on the scoreboard and after Farhan Imtiaz intercepted a pass with 51 seconds left in the first half the Grenadiers, boosted by three Markham penalties, were at the Raiders’ 20-yard line with 15 seconds to go. Bashall’s 28-yard field goal attempt was wide, but despite the misfortune the game was still close, as Kingston trailed just 13-3 at halftime.
The Grenadiers failed to recover a short kickoff to start the second half, however, and Markham drove from its own 54-yard line for a touchdown on its first possession, a 34-yard catch by the league’s leading receiver in the regular year, Marcus Arkarakas.
As it turned out, the game turned on that sequence of half a dozen plays.
“(With the second field goal) it’s 13-6 and if we stop them on the opening drive of the second half and we get the ball,” Pendergast said, pausing at the thought of what might have been. “(Markham) has some good players … and they were able to play aggressively.”
A 45-yard scoring drive was capped by Matt Prucha’s four-yard TD pass to Tyler Munro at 12:48 of the third quarter and after Kingston failed to make first down on a fake punt on the final play of the period, Markham got its final touchdown on the subsequent drive, a 20-yard pass from Pruchat to Arkarakas, for a commanding 34-3 lead.
Kingston, which finished its season at 7-3, scored its two touchdowns in the final six minutes of the game, on a two-yard run by Josh Boursier and a five-yard run by Cole Goodfellow.
Goodfellow was the workhorse for the Grenadiers, carrying the football 22 times for 44 yards. It was tough sledding along the ground all night, as Konner Burtenshaw ended the game with 53 yards from 14 carries, 26 of it on the big play of the second-quarter drive that resulted in Bashall’s field goal. Fisher completed 10 of 25 passes for 88 yards.
“Dylan ended up getting into the game as time went on but it’s hard coming off the bench and stepping into a game where you need to perform,” Pendergast said. Carter Cook led Kingston with four receptions (35 yards) while Jeremy Pendergast had a team-best 42 yards receiving from three catches.
All photos are by Jeff Chan. Jeff is past Chairman of the Vanier Cup - Canada's University Football Championship and the Premier University Event in Canada, and was a member of the Canadian College Bowl Board and Vanier Cup Organizing Committee from 1978-2001. He is a Sr. Advisor to SportsEh and Top Prospects Canada.
All photos are Copyright (c) Jeff Chan 2013, and may be used for personal non-commercial applications including by the OVFL, the Markham Raiders, and the Kingston Grenadiers, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan. All other rights, including for all corporate use, are reserved.
All photos on this site are Copyright © Jeff Chan, and may be used for personal non-commercial applications including by Queen's University, and U Sports Canada and its member conferences, other participating teams, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan.
All other rights, including for all corporate and media use, are strictly reserved.