Peterborough senior varsity Wolverines came within inches of their season ending in catastrophe.
Instead, they’re off to the Ontario Football Conference championship game.
With no time left on the clock Sault Ste. Marie Sabrecats’ quarterback Ryan Yost launched a throw into the Wolverines end-zone that Taylor Holub caught while in the air. Officials ruled his body touched down out of bounds as he was tackled to the ground. Tempers overflowed on the play as both benches emptied into a melee.
When the dust settled the Wolverines were 16-10 winners and Ramsay Division champions Saturday at Thomas A. Stewart Athletic Field. They’ll join the junior varsity Wolverines in championship games on OFC Champs Day to be hosted for the first time by the Wolverines Saturday at TASSS. The seniors will face either the Brantford Bison or Toronto Jr. Argos at 5 p.m. The juniors will meet Brantford at 2 p.m. and two visiting tams will play in the 11 a.m. bantam final.
The Wolverines led 16-4 until the Soo scored its first touchdown with 57 seconds left as Yost found Robert Wright with a 10-yard toss. The Soo missed the convert and Peterborough recovered the Sabrecats’ on-side kick with 31 seconds left. The clock did not start on the second Wolverines down causing furor on the sidelines. The Wolverines also opted to play out their third down on what they thought would be the game’s final play, rather than punt, but when the down ended one second remained. It gave the Soo one last Hail Mary attempt to tie it, and possibly win it with a convert. They missed by the slimmest margin.
“It was absolutely too close,” said Wolverines’ coach John Parkes. “We put ourselves in a bad situation with sloppy mistakes.
“I told my guys it’s a bizarre feeling because we won and you want to celebrate and be excited, but we did it in a very ‘What just happened.” kind of way.
“We have a lot to fix.”
Sabrecats’ coach Matt Premo didn’t protest the officials final call.
“He did catch the ball but they said his body hit out of bounds before his lower body hit inbounds. It’s a tough call. I couldn’t see it so I have to take their word for it,” Premo said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow when it’s that close and his feet looked inbounds.”
As for the rough stuff that followed, Premo said: “Emotions were high with a trip to the championship on the line and we came up just short. I didn’t see what happened to start it or how it escalated. That’s not something we like to get involved in. I try to keep our guys out of that and our emotions in check but it’s a physical game and emotions run high. Sometimes stuff like that happens.”
Parkes said it looked like Soo players tried to come to Holub’s defence and things escalated.
“No one got hurt,” he said. “They were protecting their guy and there were no real shots fired.”
Premo said his team showed character to battle to the end.
“We didn’t execute as well as we’d like on offence, we had a bunch of miscues, but we still had a chance to tie it at the end,” he said. “We were inches away.”
“It was a close play, something you’d need replay for,” Wolverines defender Devon VanBeek said of the final play. “It was very close and exciting. Too close for comfort.
“We have to pick up our game for the championship,” said VanBeek. “We have to throw our bodies in front of everyone and be the best we can be. We’ll have to have a stellar game all four quarters.”
The Wolverines led 11-2 at half-time on a 26-yard field goal and rouge by Hayden Bruce and a one-yard Keegan Crough TD plunge converted by Bruce. The Soo scored a safety when Peterborough took a penalty inside their 10-yard line.
VanBeek had a big interception to take away a Soo major early in the third quarter. On the next series the Wolverines gave up another safety on a penalty.
An Owen Hubert interception set up a Bruce rouge from 55 yards. A Connor Murney interception followed by a long throw by QB Ryan Astrom to Nick Clarkin set up a 29-yard Bruce field goal. Bruce added a rouge with 9:42 left to make it 16-4.
Original Article By:
Mike Davies, Peterborough Examiner
Photo By: CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT/PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA NETWORK