Junior Red Knights Register Lopsided Victory Against Leaside
By Sam Laskaris
This one wasn’t even close.
The Northern Red Knights junior football club scored on its opening play from scrimmage on Friday against the Leaside Lancers.
And the Red Knights kept piling up the points after that to emerge with a convincing 51-0 victory in a Toronto high school match held at Northern’s Clarke Pulford Field.
With that win the Red Knights, one of six entrants in Toronto’s public schools circuit, improved their record to 3-0 this season.
The score against the Lancers also topped the season-opening 45-0 shutout Northern had registered versus the Lawrence Park Panthers.
The Red Knights also doubled the Etobicoke Collegiate Institute (ECI) Rams 32-16 last week.
“I see this team progressing a lot since last week,” said Johnny Musson, who packs 200 pounds onto his imposing 6-foot-7 frame and is Northern’s kicker and a star defensive end. “Against ECI we let in a couple of dodgy touchdowns. But here we shut them out and played really well on defence and I’m really happy about the team.”
Since the outcome of the match was not in doubt, Musson said Friday’s outing enabled the Red Knights to experiment a bit.
“It’s for us to try different things and stuff we can’t do in practice when we’re up a lot,” he said. “And play guys that don’t play a lot. This is a team game and everybody has to pitch in, even the people on the bench. They have to be hyped, they have to motivate our players and when people get injured or we’re up by this much, they get a chance to come in and have fun.”
Besides keeping their winning streak intact, Red Knights’ receiver Will Sievert said there was another reason why members of his squad were motivated on Friday.
“Coming into this game we all have friends on that team so we knew we had to play hard and get the win because we couldn’t let them beat us or they would be talking smack for the rest of the season,” he said. “So we had to win.”
Sievert opened the scoring on Northern’s first drive as he caught a pass from quarterback Riley Chalmers and scampered 67 yards for a touchdown.
Sievert also had about a 40-yard punt return for a major in the first quarter. And he scored his third TD of the match, again via a punt return, in the fourth quarter.
“It wasn’t really a challenge for us but it’s still fun to go and run the score,” said Sievert, adding he was pleased to see all those on the Red Knights’ roster get some playing time.
Sievert added his teammates can be even better still.
“We had some holding calls so we’ll have to work on blocking cleanly,” he said. “And we had some offside calls. And the defence could maybe work on tackling a bit more because they had some pretty big runs. Other than that, we looked pretty good.”
Also scoring touchdowns for Northern were Miguel Collado, Hayden Vincent-Francis, Liam Gibson and Kaine Hamilton-Wright.
Musson connected on six of his seven point after converts and also successfully booted a 27-yard field goal.
Northern’s Ben Best, arguably the team’s top lineman, got banged up in the contest and left the game early, primarily as a precaution.
“That hurt our run and that hurt our pass protection,” said Red Knights’ head coach John Lombardi. “And they adjusted well to us. I’m happy but we can be better. I’m not satisfied. We would love to be mistake free and really push guys back off of the line and I don’t think we did today. I think we had a lot of penalties and too many times we were letting guys come through.”
Lombardi added his charges have been getting better each week.
“Our tackling was the best it’s been on the defensive side,” he said. “And our blocking, again because we lost Ben, was hit or miss. But some of the kids stepped in on the offensive line like Brandur (Brown) and Jalani (Bennett) who are Grade 9s. And they did really well.”
Northern’s next game is next Friday, Oct. 21, against the visiting Richview Saints. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.