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Oct 3 2022

Senior Red Knights Blank Panthers In Season Opener

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By Sam Laskaris


It took them a few drives to get going.

But the Northern Red Knights senior football club did manage to start scoring some points. And in the end the Red Knights were able to celebrate a season-opening victory this past Friday.

Northern downed the visiting Lawrence Park Panthers 24-0 in the match, staged on the Red Knights’ home turf, Clarke Pulford Field.

“At the beginning we started off slow but then we started to ramp it up and lock down Lawrence Park,” said Northern’s Liam Trail, who opened the scoring with a 27-yard field goal.

Trail also successfully booted the Red Knights’ three point after attempts following their three major scores.

The contest featured the high school quarterbacking debut of Northern’s Lenox Nizami, a Grade 12 student who was turned into a pivot this season, in part out of necessity and also because of his strong arm. 

“It felt pretty good but I was nervous at the start,” Nizami said. “I had played D-line last year and I was a little shaky but I got my groove and my receivers supported me and I got some good throws in.”

Nizami said it took a bit of time for the Red Knights’ offence to get on track.

“They were blitzing a lot but our O-line quickly adapted,” he said. “We started getting throws and we started getting movement. I started running and it was great. I loved it.”

Nizami’s first high school TD pass was caught by Ryan Moore.

The Red Knights led 10-0 at halftime. Northern added to its lead on the first play of the second half when Sheadenn Bowerbank caught the kickoff and raced almost the entire length of the field and into the Panthers’ end zone.

Nizami then connected with wide receiver Peter Lawrence, one of two fifth-year players on the Northern roster (Bowerbank is the other one), for another Red Knights’ TD later in the quarter.

Lawrence is thrilled he has the opportunity to play another season at Northern. 

“I’m very happy to be back,” he said. “Football is like it gives me a purpose. It’s something to wake up for in the morning. I’m very happy to be back.”

Though the Panthers were holding their own against the Red Knights in the early portions of the contest, Lawrence said he thought the visitors would provide a stiffer challenge for his side.

“I was surprised because I was expecting more,” he said. “I won’t lie to you. I’ll be honest. I was expecting more because the way they were talking I was expecting more. But that’s just a part of football. They’re a team that came with the attitude that they’re better than us so I was expecting some higher standards.”

Despite keeping the Panthers’ off the scoreboard, Lawrence added he wasn’t entirely content with Northern’s performance.

“I never stay satisfied,” he said. “Whatever I do, I never stay satisfied. I’m always hungry. Our team is always hungry. We have dogs on our team. We always want to eat.”

Nizami also believes the Red Knights can’t rest on their season-opening laurels.

“We need to work on a bunch,” he said. “There’s still practice every day. We have conditioning on Monday after school. We’ve got to work on our plays. We’ve got to work on our drops. I’ve got to work on my drops and everybody can use work.”

Trail echoed the sentiment that there is plenty of room for improvement in Northern’s game.

“Everything,” Trail said, when asked what the Red Knights can work on. “Lots of our runs, lots of our outside linebackers getting there quickly and linebackers making quicker decisions.”

Northern’s next outing is this Thursday, Oct. 6. The Red Knights will square off against the host Etobicoke Rams.

The opening kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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