By Larry Moko
A season of firsts continued Tuesday for Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School.
Following up on its first-ever OFSAA championships in football and girls’ AAA volleyball, the Tonnos boys’ high school touch football team made school history again by capturing the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic trophy in that sport.
Playing the tournament final at St. Thomas More, the Titans defeated the defending champion St. John Henry Newman Cardinals, 14-12.
“Winning never gets old,” said coach Cartier Shields who also was an assistant with the Tonnos tackle squad.
“The feeling you get is euphoric. I think it’s also contagious. Right now they are just starting to hit their stride of potential. They haven’t peaked out yet. I look forward to see what’s ahead of them in the next couple of months.”
Tonnos took a 14-0 lead with both touchdown passes – each from the Newman 1-yard line – going from quarterback Ryan Begadon to Nick Galli. A 25-yard reception by Elliot Blake put BT on the doorstep for its second major.
“(Nick) has been a strong player for us all year,” Shields said. “He’s a great possession receiver.”
After Galli’s opening TD, Begadon and Isaiah Shields hooked up for a two-point conversion.
A 23-yard run by quarterback Lucas Barresi then provided a spark to the Cardinals. It gave them a first down at the Tonnos 5-yard line. From there, Shane Wismer made the first of his two touchdown grabs.
Trailing 14-6 at the half, the Cardinals closed the gap late in the contest on Wismer’s second TD – a leaping one-handed reception in traffic at the back of the end zone.
“Great concentration,” Newman coach Chris Bartolomeo said.
Nick Garcia’s catches over the middle were key during Newman’s final drive.
“It was a game of converts,” Bartolomeo said. “They converted one of two and we were zero for two. It changes the dynamic of the game.”
Tonnos also edged Newman 7-6 in the round-robin portion of the tournament. That gave the Titans a bye in the opening round of playoffs. In semifinals, Newman topped the Bishop Ryan Celtics, 18-6, and Tonnos blanked the St. Thomas More Knights, 20-0.
“We have a really good group of kids … very athletic,” Begadon said. “I was pretty confident we could win today. We just had to be patient and not make many mistakes.”
Begadon said the high intensity, 7-on-7, one-hand touch game helps a quarterback develop chemistry with his tackle football receivers.
“We didn’t start off the tournament last Thursday the way we should have (losing to the hosts from More),” coach Shields said. “We’ll call it a bit of an OFSAA hangover. But we came together today and really dialed in. We played our best team football.”
Newman and Tonnos also faced each other twice for championships in tackle football last season. The Titans won 13-7 in the city final and 28-14 when they met again with the GHAC title on the line. In their regular-season contest, however, Newman was victorious, 30-6.
Other BT players on the roster for the two-day competition were: Simon Blake, Zephi Brooks, Jackson Brown, Jacob Caroll, Daniel Carson, Nathan Channer, Luke Condell, Brody Corbett, Kevis Kargas, Wyatt Kernohan, Quinton Levac, Nathan Lynch, Eric Medeiros, Trey Montour, Joshua Puskas, Kaleb Rankin, Owen Reschny, Rylan Reschny, Francesco Romano, Owen Stoltz,
Luca Tassone, Adrian Tassone, Jackson Taylor, Hudson Taylor, Nathan Vandermeer and
The annual girls’ touch football tournament at More is scheduled for Tuesday, May 30 and Thursday, June 1.