London Beefeaters tackle the history book with first Ontario Football Conference win
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
For the first time the London Beefeaters can call themselves Ontario Football Conference champions after a nail-biting 19-16 win over the Hamilton Hurricanes at TD Waterhouse Stadium on Saturday (Oct. 13).
Both teams were forced to mostly run the ball in the first half with heavy rain coming down, but both defences stood tall and at halftime the Beefeaters were up 3-0.
Hamilton opened the third with two touchdown drives and any momentum London had looked to be gone.
Headed into the fourth quarter the Beefeaters still had yet to score a touchdown, trailing 14-3 going into the final frame—a somewhat familiar position for the OFC’s top-ranked team.
London had fought back to win two games in the fourth quarter in the 2012 season (Burlington and Windsor AKO Fratmen)…so, was there ever any doubt the Beefeaters couldn’t do it again?
“I kept telling them we’ve been here before,” said London head coach John Vouvalidis. “We’re down 14-3 and we said this is exactly where we want them. We get a big play and we break one sooner than later and we’ll be in it.”
It didn’t take long for the Beefeaters to catch their break. With just under 10 minutes to play, all-star receiver Josh Woodman ran a punt back down his team’s sideline for an 82-yard touchdown…was there ever a doubt the break wouldn’t come?
“I did know where I was going to go, but I got a great block from (line backer) Patrick Ramsey and (defensive back) Sam Lourenco and I just had to make sure I didn’t get caught,” Woodman said. “It’s just nice to prove the haters wrong.”
The game winning points came from running back Joel Clubine on a one-yard touchdown where the Beefeater rookie powered right through the middle of the Hurricane’s defensive line.
The football had to be wiped off almost every down because of the rain and London had scored almost half their points on the ground in the regular season over the their receivers, defence and special teams…was there any doubt the Beefeaters wouldn’t win on the ground?
“We play as a team, so it was the team that got the touchdown, not just me,” Clubine said, going down regularly throughout the game with calf and hamstring cramps and having to be regularly stretched out by trainers anytime he had a chance on the sidelines. “We always had high confidence in pulling it off.”
For the Beefeaters, it’s the team’s first championship in their 37-year history after spending the last few seasons in the basement of the OFC…was there any doubt London would be the one telling the jokes at the end of 2012?
“Maybe people laughed at us, but our goal was to win every game,” Vouvalidis said, after a season where the Beefeaters only lost one game. “Then we said we’re going to make it one play at a time and then one play becomes a series, a series becomes a quarter, a quarter becomes a half and a half becomes a game.”
According to the rookie OFC head coach’s theory, it’s led his team to more than just a game win. Instead it has brought the Beefeaters to history.
The Canadian Bowl will be hosted by the British Columbia Football Conference (BCFC) at the home field of B.C. league’s champion.
The Beefeaters will take on the Prairie Football Conference champion in the Canadian Junior Football League semifinal with the winner moving on to play the BCFC champ.
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