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Cardinals wins regular season contest against Celtics

By Larry Moko

The St. John Henry Newman Cardinals are currently benefitting from the experience gained by several of their players who participated in last summer’s Canada Cup.

Quarterback Lucas Barresi, running back/linebacker Noah Clarke and receiver/defensive end Nick Garcia of the Cardinals were members of Team Ontario at the national U18 football tournament held in Kelowna, B.C.

That squad advanced to the bronze-medal game.

On Friday, at Bishop Ryan, the Newman representatives who performed on the national stage played a key role in the Cardinals’ 18-7 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league victory over the Celtics.

Barresi tossed two second-quarter touchdowns. The first went for five yards to Clarke and the second was hauled in by Garcia from 21 yards.

Barresi, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound signal caller, also carried for a two-point conversion.

With the win, Newman improved its record to 3-0 while Bishop Ryan slipped to 2-2. Elsewhere, the St. Thomas More Knights blanked the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, 35-0.

“It was another classic battle,” Newman coach Lino Battilana said of the annual regular-season contest between the two schools that decides the Father Cote Cup.

Said Barresi: “It was a dog fight.”

The Celtics, who trailed 15-1, rallied for a pair of field goals by Juan Vasquez in the final minute of the second quarter. Those three-pointers split the uprights from 39 and 31 yards.

After a scoreless third quarter, Newman then added some insurance on a 26-yard field goal by Leo Kantartzis with 69 seconds remaining.

A highlight of the fourth quarter was the three sacks by linebacker Jakub Zajac of the Cardinals. He pulled down quarterback Ryan Harrison for a significant loss of yards and, on the final occasion, forced a fumble.

“He had two big ones back to back,” the Newman coach said. “That put BR deep in their end. He really lit it up in the fourth quarter. Fantastic.”

Battilana was pleased with the “workhorse” effort of Clarke and the way the Newman stuck to its game plan.

“Bishop Ryan has a dynamic offence,” he said, “so we knew we had to keep their offence off the field. We wanted to march the ball and control the clock. I thought we did a great job of that today.

“When Noah carries he grinds out every yard.”

Barresi said he learned a lot from OUA coaches and opposing teams at the Canada Cup. “It was the experience of a lifetime,” he said.

Newman remains unbeaten in all 11 of the Cote Cup competitions. Father Cote was the first principal at both Bishop Ryan and Newman.

“We’re blessed,” Battilana said of the win streak. “The kids will remember this game for a long time.”









Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil

Photo by Frank Zochil
Photo by Frank Zochil