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This Sudbury Sports Guy: NOSSA football brings out the best in local rivals

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Some of the Sudbury teams heading to the OFSAA Football Championships later this week are doing so with the knowledge that they are representing schools for whom the road to the Ontario playdowns was a virtual rite of passage, which was the Strength of their program the beautiful game.

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Here’s looking at you, St. Charles College.

Still others will enter this environment knowing that few, if any, of their predecessors in football in their respective colleges have had this experience before them.

A tip of the cap goes to l’Horizon Aigles, who lay claim to the SDSSAA Open Girls Premier banner for the first time in school history.

Regardless of the setting, four very excited local formations are making their way to host cities from London to Belle River, with Jordan Station also joining.

While the St. Charles College Cardinals boys managed to wrap up an undefeated regular season with SDSSAA and NOSSA triumphs over the same Lo-Ellen Park Knights, there’s little doubt that the 4-1 win at their most recent event is far more than that The overtime thriller they contested in the city finals was convincing.

“They came at us out of nowhere, with a lot of pressure on us – and they scored a quick goal,” said Cards centre-back Tyler Thibodeau, recalling the showdown in Sudbury. “Our heads were down but we got back in the game and fought hard. When we played Lo-Ellen again at NOSSA, we were careful not to be overconfident.

“We came out very strong and after 10 minutes into the game we were on the board.”

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Braxton Ragogna scored twice to lead the SCC attack, with singles from Nathan Cranston and Kamal Oduwole, while Ousama Qarquouz countered in a losing affair. As much as a St. Charles entry has been pretty much the norm at OFSAA each year, this remains a relatively tentative group making its way south for the first post-COVID event.

“We don’t have any fixed expectations,” said Thibodeau. “We’re honestly quite nervous about going down there. We’re in the AAA group and we’ve heard a lot about the AAA groups. We’re just trying to come down, do our best and get a good result.”

Ordinarily, that could also apply to l’Horizon Aigles, the city champions after conquering the table and looking even more impressive as they stop the Confederation Chargers 7-2 in the final of NOSSA A. Normally one would hope that the prom and OFSAA would not conflict as is the case this June as only 13 members of the Aigles can make the trip to the Windsor area of ​​Windsor Province.

With the younger l’Horizon core including players like Kiara Levac, who scored five goals against Confed in the final, Kiana Levac and Brooke Dugas – all three are key members of GSSC Impact’s Under-17 squad – all hope is certainly not lost for the squad that brought so much promise into 2022.

“I know I saw some pretty capable players in the auditions,” said Danika Lalonde, a 17-year-old 12th-grade student who has to bypass OFSAA but is still leaving from SUNY Canton in upstate New York. to chase them fall hockey dreams. “Back then there was even talk that we would be the team to beat. That’s what the impact trainers said.

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“We haven’t been the strongest in the past, but maybe this will be our year.”

Mixing in the likes of Lalonde and former club players Alexie Olivier and Jessy Landry with their top-end talent, the Aigles managed to clear every hurdle, even in a semi-final game without their top scorer.

“We had to stay strong in all areas of the field, especially in midfield,” said Lalonde.

“We put some really important players in the middle of the field, even if they didn’t play Impact. Our main goal was to stay very strong defensively.”

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The Confederation Chargers boy team, who will carry NOSSA hopes into the OFSAA A-Event just outside Niagara Falls, surprised many by finishing second in the league, behind only St. Charles, despite only having two club players on their roster . At NOSSA, the Valley Boys beat the Franco Cite Patriotes 6-0 and the Algonquin Barons 2-0 in back-to-back games.

“We have really good coaches who help us even if we don’t know much about football to make sure we try to use our athletic ability to do everything on the field, use our size and athleticism to get some goals to score and win some games,” said Matt Bamberger of the team coached by former Laurentian Voyageur Brad Smith.

For those with GSSC experience, the improvements surrounding them are palpable.

“I think everyone moves better off the ball,” noted attacking midfielder Braydon Ethier-Perras, who scored a goal in the second half to double Landon Doyle’s advantage and allow goalkeeper Owen Taylor to move towards it concentrate on saving the goal.

“In the beginning everyone was focused on having the ball. Now they will run much better and much smoother behind the defense.”

And in this particular case, the experiential teachings were obviously at the forefront of the class.

“I don’t think we focused on teaching that. I think it just turned out that way. The more we played, the more they realized they had to get off the ball.”

Rounding out the OFSAA local contenders are the College Notre-Dame Alouettes, 6-2 winners over the West Ferris Trojans in the NOSSA AAA gold medal game. The Begic sisters were responsible for five of the six goals – Natalia had three, Andrea added two – as Myla Weiman rounded out the offense.

Randy Pascal’s That Sudbury Sports Guy column appears regularly in The Sudbury Star.

Andre Sousa, left, of the Lo-Ellen Park Knights defends against two St. Joseph-Scollard players during the NOSSA Junior Boys' AAA Football Championship Friday, May 27 at the Kinsmen Sports Complex in Lively, Ont Hall Bears , 2022. Lo-Ellen won 1-0.
Andre Sousa, left, of the Lo-Ellen Park Knights defends against two St. Joseph-Scollard players during the NOSSA Junior Boys’ AAA Football Championship Friday, May 27 at the Kinsmen Sports Complex in Lively, Ont Hall Bears , 2022. Lo-Ellen won 1-0. Photo by Ben Leeson/The Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network

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