Story and Photos by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
Victoria, BC, September 3, 2012 (ISN) – Both the bantam and midget Spartans football teams took to the field Monday at Bear Mountain Stadium against the Nanaimo Redmen to start their 2012 Greater Victoria Minor Football League (GVMFL) and Victoria Community Football League (VCFL) season campaign.
The two teams took to the field with something slightly different to prove. Coming away with the 2011 Bantam Provincial Football Championship, after a 6th place finish with a regular season 5-5 record, the “Cinderella” Bantam team came out looking to prove that last years finish wasn’t by chance. The Midget Spartans had a slightly different task after finishing in 8th place last year, looking to take a positive first step to a successful season.
Spartans QB Brandon Holland on the QB scramble – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
It was evident from the first bantam Spartan snap that quarterback #12 Brandon Holland was looking to rely on a running game to power the Spartans offense. #33 Tye Pettepiece would open the Spartan season with a pair of 3 yard runs into the end zone to break the ice as the junior Spartans would jump ahead 14-0, and enjoy decent field position for most of the first half at the Redmen defense’s expense. The Redmen defensive crew would find their hands full with the offensive line of the Spartans, pushed back on occasion giving the Spartans QB time in the pocket to see his option plays. Kicker Hugo Louis, who last year kicked the magical winning field goal to lift his team to a provincial championship, added a field goal and a late interception, in his cornerback/kicker roll, to end the half up 19-0.
Spartans #33 Tye Pettepiece made many Redman miss durning the Spartans season opener Monday afternoon – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
After a key time out by Redmen coach Mike Lenz to “refocus” his defensive line, the Nanaimo Redman would start to gel, putting together back to back drives to find themselves in the Spartans end after a missed snap and a Redman recovery on the Spartans 25 yard line. An additional penalty would find Redmen on the Spartans 1 yard line. The Redmen would finally answer the bell on a corner running route into the end zone for their first touchdown. The Spartans D-men would weather a Nanaimo push late in the fourth quarter, as the Redmen would attempt to make up the difference. Spartans Hugo Louis, not to be denied, put his own stamp on the game with his second pick of the game with 52 seconds remaining, turning away the Redmen in decisive fashion. After the game, when speaking to Coach Precious about Louis’ performance, Coach would give his endorsement, ” He’s a good player…he’s going to win a few games for us this season.”
Final Score Bantam Spartans win 19-7
#23 Brett McMurray looks for open field running through Redman players – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
The Midget Spartans would face a tougher opponent in Senior Redmen. Both teams would trade touchdowns with the Redman striking first when James Danielchuck would run the ball in from the four-yard line. The Spartans would reply with their own scoring drive, on a catch and run play by #12 Jordan Rodinsky. The Redmen would add single point to finish the first quarter 8-7. The second quarter would demonstrate each teams defensive tenacity, as neither team would allow the opponent within scoring distance. The half would finish in favour of the Nanaimo Redmen.
QB Brett Johnston looks down field for his options – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Spartans would demonstrate a more balanced pass and run attack in the second half when Spartans #24 Derek Morgan would find the “House” on a 13 yard scamper into the end zone to put the Spartans on top. After a turnover by the Redmen, the Spartans would press further ahead 17-8 with a converted field goal. As the half progressed, it would appear the Redmen defensive line was wearing down as the Spartans running backs were allowed to run through and around the line and find extra yards to advance the ball.
The team that could stop the ground attack had a good chance to win the game Monday – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
After a Spartan touchdown, Nanaimo would answer back with their own touchdown on a 17-yard pass to Redmen player #88 with just less than three minutes remaining to bring the Redmen to within 8 points, 24-14, on a missed conversion. The Spartans seemed relax as the Redmen recovered an onside kick. It wasn’t long before the Nanaimo Redmen made it a game with a late touchdown to bring them within 3 points of a tie game, but that was as close as they would come as the Victoria Spartans would keep possession of the ball and run out the remaining time for their first victory of the season.
Final Score Midget Spartans win 24-21
A swarming Midget Spartan defense hauls down the Redmen runner during opening season action – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
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