Epic 30th Steel City Bowl Victory

Hamilton’s Catholic High School All-Stars Triumph in Epic 30th Steel City Bowl Victory
Posted on 12/05/2023

By Larry Moko
The football season for an elite group of players from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board lasted nine months and it ended on a winning note.

The 2023 campaign officially concluded Sunday at McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium when Hamilton’s Catholic high school all-stars defeated the Public board all-stars, 23-17, in the 30th Steel City Bowl.

“Some of these guys have been going from April until today,” Catholics head coach Anthony Tassone said of the rainy Dec. 3 finale. “They’re looking forward to the off season to give their bodies a bit of a rest.

“But they are truly passionate and love the sport. That’s why they’re willing to go out there every day from April until now.”

Many of the players involved in the all-star contest played at the rep level last spring when they won the Ontario Summer Football League Cup as members of the Hamilton Junior Tiger-Cats.

“So, including exhibitions, playoff games and so forth, they played over 20 games during that period,” coach Tassone said.

Players from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league champion Bishop Tonnos Titans who saw double duty with the U18 Tiger-Cats included Luca Tassone, Ryan Begadon, Brody Corbett, Zephi Brooks, Collin Quan-soon, Kaleb Rankin, Francesco Romano, Jackson Taylor and Trey Montour.

“It’s a lot of football,” Catholic squad defensive back Luca Tassone said. “It demands a lot of our bodies. Guys on our team really felt it down the stretch (when Tonnos played in the league and Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference playoffs).

“It’s how you get better, right? The more you play the better you get. It was great to get as many games as we did.”

The Titans recently came within one win of returning to the Golden Horseshoe Bowl which they won in 2022.

“Our goal today was to beat the Public … and we did,” Tassone said. “A lot of us played together in the summer and that helped. Everybody was pretty much on the same page.”

The Catholic squad was led by Tonnos running back Elliot Blake, who received Game MVP honours. He scored two touchdowns – the first on a seven-yard yard and the second by way of a 91-yard kickoff return. He also added a 44-yard punt return.

A 22-yard TD pass from quarterback Begadon to Shane Wismer of the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals then gave Catholic a 16-0 lead. Public finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter -- a 26-yard field goal by Ian McKinnon of the Westdale Warriors.

The other points for Catholic resulted from a conceded safety touch on the first series of downs and three converts by Romano.
Asher Lavioe of the Westmount Wildcats blocked a punt, scooped the ball, then ran with it to set up Public’s opening touchdown. That was scored on a seven-yard run by Matt Frketich of Westmount.

 Frketich, who rushed for 75 yards on 14 carries to earn Offensive Player of the Game designation, added a two-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Defensive Player of the Game was end Nick Garcia of Newman.

Lavoie was named Special Teams Player of the Game.

“We’re just looking to showcase the kids,” coach Tassone said, “so, hopefully, they’re playing together next year on a Saturday afternoon (when university games are held).”

Public out-rushed Catholic (111-82) and gained more yards through the air than the victors (176-159). The leading pass catchers were Jahkeem Irons of Westmount (3-for-65) and Taylor (3-for-65). Statistics courtesy John Metcalfe.

Football elbow


Football tackle

Football trophy

Photos by Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

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