Holy trinity

Holy Trinity and Delhi will contest the football final

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Constant downpour played a part in the Brant-Norfolk Varsity Football League semi-finals which took place Friday in Simcoe and Delhi.

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But that didn’t dampen the excitement of the Simcoe Holy Trinity Titans, who defeated Pauline Johnson’s Thunderbirds 13-0.

In the other semi-final on Friday, defending Norfolk Bowl champions Delhi beat Waterford Wolves at home 28-0 to advance to the final against the Titans in Delhi on Saturday.

“To be the first team in school history to get this far is a huge accomplishment,” Titans assistant coach Matt Martinow said. “There have been difficult years. Sometimes to get to the top of the mountain you have to first be at the foot of it and develop things.

The Titans-Thunderbirds game was scoreless at the end of the first half as both teams appeared to struggle to make meaningful gains.

In the dying minutes of the third quarter, Holy Trinity got a few early tries to progress down the field, before tossing the ball into the end zone on a sweep.

The touchdown was called due to a hold call in the backfield. However, on the next play, Cam Pearson managed to run the ball on a no-tackle run for six points.

“It’s unfortunate that the first one got called back, but we kept our cool and executed the game to perfection,” Martinow said. “It was a very good first score and – at that time – it was a big change of momentum.”

Early in the fourth quarter, Titans cornerback Taye Lovell intercepted a pass from Thunderbirds quarterback Ryan Hill and ran it from midfield to the end for another touchdown.

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“Lovell was in the right place at the right time and read the piece very well,” Martinow said. “It was a huge game for us to build momentum and keep it going. Our defense stuck with them very well. I think we have the best in the league.

Thunderbirds head coach John Macdonald then told his players that both teams had to work it out, and the Titans did it a bit better.

Pauline Johnson Collegiate (Brantford) Thunderbirds running back Jake Lupton is downed by Holy Trinity Titans (Simcoe) #3 Tay Lovell.
Pauline Johnson Collegiate (Brantford) Thunderbirds running back Jake Lupton is downed by Holy Trinity Titans (Simcoe) #3 Tay Lovell. Photo by Brian Thompson /The exhibitor

“It was a difficult day. The weather is the great equalizer,” he said. “I think we had two equal teams, but a few players were making plays, and that’s the difference when it comes to days like this.”

Macdonald observed that while his team played well defensively, the offense struggled at times.

“At the end of the day, their No. 3 (Lovell) made some really good plays, and their running backs did,” he said. “We have a great building block for the future with this 2-2-1 program for this year, so I’m happy.”

Meanwhile – in Delhi – Raiders and Wolves learned first hand why football is considered an all-weather sport. After the win, Raiders coach Dave Leatherland looked at the pitch and wondered how they were going to get it into shape in time for this weekend’s Norfolk Bowl.

“Over the years there have been many football matches in Delhi, but I have never seen a match where there was so much water on the pitch,” Leatherland said of the swamp conditions. “It was crawling for most of the game. We were hammered by the rain. Players will remember this game forever.

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Leatherland will long be remembered for the mud-splattered faces of its players as they ran off the pitch during possession changes. He said the deluge had killed any hope of a passing attack, adding that the conditions reduced both sides to launching attacks in the gut where the focus was on pigskin and preventing turnovers. Even for players who are fast and good on their feet, Leatherland said the conditions were too dangerous for zigzag running games.

Raiders QB Adam Leatherland was able to land a touchdown pass to Mason Kreller early in the game before the rain started in earnest. From there, Leatherland kept the game on the ground, scoring a touchdown on a quarterback guard while passing to running back Tre Hodder for two more scampers in the house before the bell rang.

Coach Leatherland is encouraged by the mostly sunny forecast for the rest of the week. With saturated October skies giving way to a sunny start to November, he is confident the Delhi pitch will be well maintained in time for Saturday’s Norfolk Bowl kick off, which begins at 1pm.

Anyone hoping to handicap this contest may want to flip a coin. In their only meeting during the regular season, Delhi edged Holy Trinity 15-14 in Game 1 at Holy Trinity on September 24.

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