By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
The honeymoon is over the St. Thomas Aquinas (STA) Flames after losing to Windsor’s W.F. Herman Green Griffons 33-20 at Citywide Field on Friday (Nov. 23) in the Western Bowl semifinal.
The Flames looked to be running away with the game up 17-7 at halftime, but like the weather throughout the matchup — which consisted of snow, rain and hail — the unpredictable happened.
On a punt return that should have opened STA’s first drive of the third quarter, started out with a fumbled punt return that lead to a Herman touchdown. The Flames misplay was one of few from the team’s special team all season, if not the only, but the second in the game for them and a turning point swinging the momentum in the Green Griffons favour.
The big points starting the half led the way for Herman’s two other touchdowns and a pair of field goals in the final 24 minutes.
“We made some crucial mistakes that cost us two touchdowns and that happens to be almost the score of the game, they beat us by two touchdowns,” said Flames’ quarterback Jesse McNair.
The Green Griffons first touchdown of the game originated from a fumbled kick return from the Flames opening the matchup.
It was a game of firsts for STA, losing their first battle all season after going 5-0-1 in the regular season and stepping up this year from being a bridesmaid when they won their first Thames Valley Regional Athletic Central Division senior boy’s football championship following four straight years of disappointment in the finale.
After the game tears were shed by several Flames players, but with STA finishing a year where their senior football team went farther than any of the school’s other senior football squads in history they have a lot to hold their head high about.
“It’s our first loss of the year and we’re in November, so that’s good,” said Flames’ head coach Peter Legge. “These kids gave a lot to this (program) and they wanted it really badly. We said to them earlier in the year, you have to risk heartbreak. You got to risk being devastated or you’ll never achieve anything and now it’s going to be tough day.”
The undefeated Griffins will play CWOSSAA champs Assumption College, from Brantford, in the OFSAA Western Bowl on Tuesday (Nov. 27) at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
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