Cardinals take over Crusaders in senior football

Cardinals take over Crusaders in senior football
Posted on 10/02/2023
Newman football player

By Larry Moko

The St. John Henry Newman Cardinals are counting on a high-powered offence from a lineup filled with experienced veterans to propel them to a high school football championship this season.

Newman rolled to its second victory in as many Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league starts with a 37-7 decision over the St. Mary Crusaders Friday.

The visiting Cardinals scored all of their points in the first half.

“We have a lot of talent with key kids returning,” Newman coach Lino Battilana said. “That’s always helpful.”

Back to guide the senior Cardinals’ attack for a third consecutive year is 6-foot-4, 190-pound quarterback Lucas Barresi. He and a group of his Newman teammates recently helped the Hamilton Junior Tiger-Cats capture the U18 Ontario Summer Football League championship.

“Lucas is a great athlete and a team player,” Battilana said. “We’re lucky to have him as our quarterback. He has a great relationship with the receivers.”

Barresi agreed with that statement, saying: “It feels like second nature.”

A former Team Ontario player, Barresi capped the opening driving by plowing into the end zone for a two-yard touchdown run.

His deep pass covering 48 yards to Nick Garcia then set up a three-yard touchdown run by Macauley Wellstead.

After the Crusaders conceded a safety touch to make it 16-0, Wellstead dashed in for his second TD (from 15 yards) and Kymarri Smith added a 22-yard rushing major.

The defence got into the act, too. Linebacker Koen Schroeder intercepted a pass and returned it 98 yards for a pick six.

“We were all prepared and disciplined,” Barresi said. “The defence played well.

“Now it’s on to BT (Friday night versus the defending-champion Bishop Tonnos Titans). They are the No. 1 team. We’ll give them a run for their money.

“The next four games will show what we’re made of. Our goal is to win OFSAA … I think we’re capable of that.”

St. Mary (0-3) got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter when Trent Harrington gathered in a tipped pass from quarterback Justin Ledrew and took it 50 yards to the end zone.

Versatile Ledrew didn’t start the season at quarterback and Harrington, Grade 11 student, is a converted hockey player in his first year of football.

“We lost our quarterback (Michael Borota) on the fifth play of the first game,” Crusaders coach Sean Dennison explained. “Kind of an Aaron Rodgers story.”

The Crusaders lineup includes four members of the Junior Tiger-Cats – Borota, along with linemen William Wilkinson, Jack Stanley and Luca Finoro. Said Dennison: “With them it’s almost like having coaches on the field.”

The St. Mary coach praised the Newman team for the sportsmanship it showed.

“We pride ourselves in improving by the end,” he said. “We’re getting there. We’re scraping and clawing. I love it here.”

Elsewhere, the St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves topped the Cathedral Gaels, 37-6, while Tonnos (3-0) moved into sole possession of first place with a 42-0 victory over the Bishop Ryan Celtics (2-1).

Newman football playerNewman and Mary football playersNewman and Mary football playersMary football playersNewman football playerPhotos by Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

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