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Nov 5 2022

Senior Red Knights Advance To City Final With Lopsided Win Over Panthers

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By Sam Laskaris


Judging by the final score of 37-1, one might assume the Northern Red Knights dominated throughout their city semi-final contest versus the Lawrence Park Panthers on Friday.

But that was certainly not the case in the high school senior boys’ football match, which was staged at Esther Shiner Stadium.

Heading into the final minute of the opening half, the Red Knights had only managed to put three points on the board, courtesy of a 22-yard field goal courtesy of Liam Trail.

The Panthers had actually opened the scoring early in the second quarter by earning a rouge via a punt.

Northern, however, scored a pair of late touchdowns, 37 seconds apart, in the final minute of the opening half to take a 17-1 lead.

For starters, Red Knights’ quarterback Lenox Nizami connected with receiver Finley Diab for a 14-yard TD pass. The same pair had kickstarted the Northern offence on that drive by hooking up for a lengthy pass and catch as well.

“We were off at the start,” Diab said of the Red Knights’ performance in the early portions of the match. “We didn’t think we were prepared for the game. But coach told us to get going so we brought up the confidence and brought up the hype. And we started to get it going.”

It appeared the Red Knights might only take a slim two-point lead into the half before their last-minute offensive explosion before halftime.

“I was a little nervous but I knew we had it in us,” Diab said. “We’ve been through those games before. But I knew we had it deep down so we could persevere through that.”

Diab added he was confident in his abilities when his number was called and Nizami tossed the ball in his direction.

“As soon as the ball was up I knew I had it in me and I could catch it and make a couple of plays,” he said. 

Shortly after Diab’s major, the Red Knights fortunes improved even more with a botched Panthers’ punt on their own 35-yard line.

“I think the (Lawrence Park) upback got pushed back and it hit off of his foot,” said Red Knights’ defender Carter Williston. “I recovered it and ran in for the touchdown.”

Williston felt those two late Northern TDs were a crucial point in the match.

“They were really key,” he said. “They brought the hype up to the team. They helped bring the team energy up, which helped the offence and defence and special teams come through the game.”

The Red Knights added three more TDs in the second half, including a 70-yard punt return from Sheadenn Bowerbank. Ted Zaimi scored the two other majors, via runs, of one yard and 18 yards, respectively.

Besides his field goals, Trail also connected on four extra point converts.

With the win, the Red Knights advance to their city championship, scheduled for this coming Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium.

The Richview Saints will provide the opposition in the city final. Richview downed the Western Tech Colts 16-6 in Thursday’s other semi-final.

“We’re not satisfied yet,” Williston said. “We’ll be satisfied when we win this (league) and at OFSAA.”

The city champs will advance to one of the nine OFSAA Bowl games, scheduled for Nov. 28-30. All of the season-ending bowl games will be held in Guelph.

Bowl game matchups are expected to be announced this coming week, when it is determined which league reps will square off in all of the season-ending contests.

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