Beefeaters off to OFC final
London Community News
Photos by Mike Maloney/London Community News/Twitter: mdmaloneyphoto
Like any good book building up to a climatic finish, the London Beefeaters still have at least one more chapter to write into the 2012 record book.
On Saturday night (Oct. 6) the Beefeaters rallied in the second half, defeating the St. Leonard Cougars 27-17 and with the win, earned themselves a berth in the Ontario Football Conference (OFC) Junior final.
Playing before a small but enthusiastic hometown crowd at TD Waterhouse Stadium, the Beefeaters were met by an opportunistic St. Leonard team who were quick to cash in on a slow start by the London squad, building up a 14-11 lead after two quarters of play.
Any doubts that may have been circulating about the Beefeaters ability to win were soon dissipated when the teams returned to the field for the second half.
It would be London defensive back Brandon Hemming that sparked the fuse which would ignite the Beefeaters comeback.
Picking off a pass thrown by Cougars quarterback Kristian Cerantola, Hemming put the home team in excellent scoring position, running the ball back downfield before being hauled down at the St. Leonard 13-yard line.
Three plays later it was running back Joel Clubine diving across the Cougars goal line to give the Beefeaters the lead and they never looked back from there.
With the defense shutting down both the St. Leonard running game and aerial attack, a pair of timely field goals off the toe of kicker Zack Medeiros padded London’s lead in the final quarter as the Beefeaters went on to post a 27-17 win.
London coach John Vouvalidis had nothing but praise for not just his players, but the whole organization from management on down after the game. “It’s just the whole team,” said Vouvalidis, “Just everybody, it’s all because of the total group effort that we are all here.”
But one name the coach was willing to single out was quarterback Chuck Wall. Taking over the role from Blake Huggins after he was called up to play with the Western Mustangs earlier this week. Vouvalidis noted that it has been over a year since Wall has played quarterback.
“We always say when someone is hurt, someone else gets to step up and be a hero,” remarked the Beefeaters coach. “And today my credit goes to Chuck Wall, unbelievable player, unbelievable kid.”
For his part, Wall was a little more restrained in his comments.
Admitting he was still a little rusty in his role as the team’s pivot, Wall accepted his portion of the blame for London trailing at the half. “Personally, I didn’t have my best game, … I haven’t been quarterbacking in a while. But as a team, we just rallied around each other as we have done all year and we pulled out the victory.”
Reluctant to make any predictions on the conference final, choosing instead to savour the moment of Saturday’s win, Wall said tomorrow they will start thinking about next week.
“We will have a good week of practice, stay focused and we will definitely be ready for next week.”
The Beefeaters opponent in the OFC Junior final to be held at TD Waterhouse Stadium next Saturday (Oct. 13) will be the Hamilton Hurricanes who defeated Ottawa 36-28 in the other conference semi-final.
Find us on Facebook: London Community News