Tag: GTA Allstars

Imperials to play for NFC championship

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Original article:  https://www.theobserver.ca/sports/football/imperials-to-play-for-nfc-championship

By Mark Malone of the Sarnia Observer

Photo Credit: Tiffany Hart Photo

The Sarnia Imperials beat the Steel City Patriots 44-15 in a Northern Football Conference semifinal Saturday.

The Sarnia Imperials are going back to the Northern Football Conference championship game.

The Imperials beat the Steel City Patriots 44-15 in a semifinal Saturday in Burlington.

“The boys played great and kept very calm, but when pushed emotionally after half the guys just reeled each other in and knew we had bigger things ahead,” head coach Jake Cherski wrote to the Observer. “I’m so proud of this bunch. We are coming together finally and feel we have a great chance next week in Toronto versus the national champs.”

The Imperials (8-2) will visit the GTA All Stars (10-0) in the final this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Brampton’s Terry Fox Stadium.

The All Stars shut out the Ottawa Sooners 29-0 in the other semifinal.

The Imperials are in the NFC final for the second time in three years. They lost to the All Stars 29-21 in the 2016 final.

They’re seeking the first championship in franchise history.

“I want to ensure to this bunch that we have the tools to compete and that we won’t be bullied around,” Cherski wrote. “It’s our time. We have worked hard to build a top competitor team and, with making the championship game two of the past three seasons, we are ready to topple the giant. …

“The city is waiting for a champion football team and nothing would be better to represent Sarnia in the national championship game.”

Imperials quarterback Julian Shadd-Gentry completed seven passes for 107 yards. He ran for one touchdown and threw another to Josh Wright.

RJ Trice returned an interception for a 58-yard touchdown. Justin Nicolaisen also scored on an interception.

The Imperials had five interceptions, including two by Quade Krosch. Corey Howell had the other.

Jay Kelly also scored a touchdown on a return.

“Kelly had an amazing game and was all over the field,” Cherski wrote. “… (He) played his head off today. Clearly our player of the game and I guess if he goes, we all go.”

Mitch Haunnesh kicked a 27-yard field goal and was 5-of-6 on extra points. Bob Artell had 44 rushing yards and Austin Colter returned an onside kick 42 yards.

Dan White, Cody Burt and Dalton Gilmore each made a team-high four tackles.

The All Stars beat the Imperials 38-9 in the season opener May 26 at Norm Perry Park. The Imperials also lost their second game, but they’ve won eight in a row since then.

“As long as we take things serious at practice next week, we should be able to give the All Stars a good game,” Cherski wrote. “Our boys have to be disciplined and come to work this week and if they can listen, pay attention and commit to the process everything is going to be OK. All we want to do is give ourselves a chance and you never know what’s going to happen.”

The fan bus for the championship game will leave Sarnia at 3:30 p.m. The $60 fee includes a game ticket and a meal (hotdog or hamburger, chips, and pop).

At least 50 fans are needed for the bus. Payment is required before Thursday. Contact Cherski at 519-312-1364.

Steelers forfeit playoff game

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Original article: http://www.saultstar.com/2018/07/26/steelers-forfeit-playoff-game

By Peter Ruicci, Sault Star

Though scheduled for a playoff game on Saturday, the Sault Steelers season is over.

Due to a lack of players, the Northern Football Conference club has elected to forfeit its postseason clash against the GTA All Stars.

The teams were to meet in an NFC quarter-final at Chinguacousy Park in Brampton.

But the Steelers, who didn’t have enough players to play the second half of last Saturday’s 35-0 loss in Sarnia, were certain even fewer would be available for a clash with the 8-0 All Stars.

“I’m sad about it. It wasn’t easy for us to forfeit,” said Steelers head coach Brandon Lewis. “It was an emotional decision to make.”

The Steelers, who finished with a 3-5 record, began their regular season finale against Sarnia with only 17 players.

However, Lewis said that during the first half they lost Jon Bujold (knee), Cam Basham (knee), Andrew Jones (back) and Rico Pucci (knee).

The Steelers concern for the well-being of their remaining 13 players – the majority of whom would have been forced to go both ways — led game officials to halt the contest before the third quarter was to begin.

Asked how many players the Steelers expected to dress if they were to face GTA, Lewis said he “couldn’t put a number on it. Easily less than the 17 we went to Sarnia with.”

The 42-year-old coach, a former star defensive lineman and a sure bet, future, NFC Hall-of-Famer, spoke of how disappointed he was.

“But our hand was forced,” Lewis added. “Forfeiting was not easy. But first and foremost, this is about the safety of our players. These guys have battled short-handed for us all season.”

Steelers quarterback Alanzo Clarke said the remaining Soo players are also disappointed.

“But it’s probably the best call,” he added. “We have a lot of guys injured and we didn’t want to risk anyone else getting hurt.”

This season marked the return of the Steelers to the NFC. Due to a lack of player interest, the team asked the league for a one-year leave of absence and didn’t field an entry in 2017.

Despite the way things are ending, Lewis called 2018 a positive.

“We played some tough games that could have gone either way,” he said. “And we managed to win three games.”

Lewis said he plans to return as the team’s head coach in 2019.

Asked if he would also consider a return to the playing field, Lewis said: “That’s not in the cards right now. I just want to focus on recruiting and building the program.”