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Dec 6 2022

Red Knights Cap Off Successful Season With OFSAA Bowl Appearance

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By Sam Laskaris


The Northern Red Knights senior boys’ football squad is still deeming its 2022 campaign a huge success.

That even though the Red Knights were unable to register a victory in their final match.

Northern was downed 24-15 by Ottawa’s St. Matthew Tigers in the National Capital Bowl staged on Nov. 30 at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium.

The National Capital Bowl was one of nine season-ending OFSAA Bowl matches, which were all held in Guelph.

The Red Knights had qualified for their Bowl contest by capturing the title in their Toronto public schools league.

Despite his team’s setback against the Tigers, Northern quarterback Lenox Nizami was content with the Red Knights’ season and the fact they competed in a Bowl game.

“I’m really happy,” he said. “We actually came together. I’m not upset with this loss. We still played really hard and that’s all we could have done.” 

The National Capital Bowl was played in less-than-ideal conditions. Besides being a rather windy day, both teams had to contend with rain and snow that fell during the game.

“The weather was terrible but we practiced every day in this stuff,” Nizami said. “It’s nothing new. We can do this every day.”

The Red Knights had a pretty good idea what to expect from the St. Matthew squad.

“We had film on six of their games,” Nizami said. “We watched them pretty in depth. We hadn’t seen them in person obviously so these guys surprised us. They’re fast. They’re big. They can hit hard.”

The Northern squad, however, had managed to take a 14-3 lead into halftime. 

Sheadenn Bowerbank had opened the scoring in the first quarter with a lengthy 77-yard run. Nizami scored Northern’s other major with a one-yard QB keeper late in the second quarter.

Johnny Musson converted both of the Red Knights’ extra point attempts.

Musson was one of several players from Northern’s city championship junior squad that was called up and participated in the National Capital Bowl.

Musson also was credited with another single point when his opening second-half kickoff went through the Tigers’ end zone, giving the Red Knights a 15-3 advantage.

While the Northern squad was unable to put up any further points, the St. Matthew club scored three second-half TDs to earn the victory. 

“It’s disappointing,” said Northern head coach George Gretes. “We got excited. We got up early and we thought we could ride it out but we couldn’t produce in the second half. I’m proud of the guys for the work they did either way. But we let it get away.”

For the majority, if not all of those on the Red Knights’ roster, competing in the Bowl game was the highlight of their gridiron careers thus far.

“They’ll take it away and remember it forever,” Gretes said.

Red Knights’ lineman Sena Biya had mixed emotions following the contest, including the fact he was proud of his teammates’ efforts.

“We left our hearts on the field,” he said. “Obviously it sucks to be up going into the half and lose in the second one. We obviously tried our best and it sucks losing.”

Biya added the Red Knights’ players didn’t mind the chilly and damp playing conditions.

“If it was a factor it actually made us better,” he said of the weather. “We were getting a lot of forced fumbles, a lot of turnovers. We’re a gritty team. We love this stuff. We love playing in the cold and rain. We’re all tough.”

Biya added Northern’s offence should not be faulted for being unable to score any second-half TDs.

“I think our offence played well and they showed heart,” he said. “They showed character. I think they showed football IQ. But things don’t always go your way.

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