Wildcats claw way to crown
EAMONN MAHER Staff Writer The Halton Hills Wildcats will get to put their nameplate on the inaugural Ontario Minor Football League Junior Varsity championship trophy after defeating the Orangeville Outlaws 21-14 at Eugene Melnyk Field in Toronto on Sunday night. The key play of the game came with about five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 14. Wildcat Colton Vetro returned a punt 35 yards into Orangeville territory, and a 15-yard facemasking penalty put the ball at the Outlaws' 10yard line. Running back John Leckie then rushed in for his third touchdown of the game on the next play, but the drama wasn't over. Twice in the final five minutes, the Outlaws started offensive drives with good field possession-- including a fumble recovery at the Halton Hills' 38-yard line-- and promptly turned over the ball to the Wildcats on downs. "We talked about it from day one that we had the type of team that could do some damage and be successful," said head coach Dan Ralph. "It was really nice for the 13 guys who were playing in their last game to go out with a win. And the 11 kids from Milton who played for us, well, I don't think we could have done it without them." The JV Wildcats placed second in the regular season with a 7-2 record, which included a 40-14 trouncing of Orangeville. The Outlaws, however, shocked the first-place Toronto Jr. Argos 25-24 in the semifinals, while Halton Hills advanced to the final by hammering the TNT Express 40-14 in Georgetown. Employing a tightly-knit 34-man roster, Ralph and offensive co-ordinator Mike Long had the luxury of calling on an experienced group that suffered just one significant injury all season. Cornerback Dave Green was again a defensive catalyst for the 'Cats, making one interception and recovering a fumble. Kicker Rob Cutting provided all three converts and quarterback Simon Treviranus threw a short swing pass for Leckie's second major score in the second quarter. A couple of other teams in the Halton Hills organization also enjoyed winning seasons in the atom house league (11-12 yrs.). The Bobcats went 10-0 during the regular campaign, only to be upset on the Day of Champions, while the Wildcats finished third overall. JV head coach Ralph said that recruiting for next season probably just got a little easier. "It's been a nice way to start," he said of the OMFL, which was established last year by several teams unhappy with their standing with the Ontario Varsity Football League. The Wildcats have been in operation since 1998.
The Halton Hills Wildcats captured the inaugural Ontario Minor Football League Junior Varsity championship at Eugene Melnyk Field in Toronto on Sunday by defeating the Orangeville Outlaws 21-14. The Wildcats scored the winning touchdown with five minutes left and made two strong defensive stands to preserve the win. Among those celebrating are, from left, Jake Hetherington, Simon Treviranus, Kyle Sutherland, David Van Kooten, Victor Pek, Isaac Lim and David Green. Photo by Samantha Ralph