Tag: Sudbury Spartans

Late touchdowns lift Steelers

Original article:  https://www.sootoday.com/local-sports/late-touchdowns-lift-steelers-956955
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Author:  Brad Coccimiglio
Photo Credit: Donna Hopper/SooToday

A pair of late touchdowns were ultimately the difference.

A 27-yard touchdown run by Josh Gauthier with 5:14 to go in the fourth quarter lifted the Sault Steelers to a 23-10 Northern Football Conference win over the Sudbury Spartans Saturday night at Rocky DiPietro field.

The major came with the Steelers trailing 10-8 at the time in a game that saw the home side fall behind 10-0 in the opening half.

“It was key,” said Steelers Coach Brandon Lewis. “It was vintage Josh.

Gauthier finished the day with 104 yards rushing on 11 carries and a pair of touchdowns.

The victory improves the Steelers record to 2-2 after a road win last weekend in North Bay.

“Everything you do in your first year is great but when you know the type of competitors we have on our team, it’s possible for us to push the best teams in this league,” Lewis said.

Sudbury opened the scoring on a 13-yard field goal in the opening quarter by Massimo Cimino.

In the final minute of the opening quarter, Sudbury’s Sean Moore caught a two-yard pass to increase the lead to 10-0.

“The first half seemed to be very tough on us, more mentally than anything,” Lewis said. “There were some mistakes and penalties to start the game. That can take a toll. We hung in.”

Steve Hiiemaa would run the ball in from 68 yards out late in the fourth quarter to seal the Steelers win.

Hiiemaa finished the day with 130 yards rushing on 10 carries.

Offensively for the Spartans, Josh Cuomo had 55 yards rushing on 15 carries.

Defensively for the Steelers, Matt Gauthier had six tackles while Dalton Povey had 5.5 tackles. Tom Twentyman had five tackles and Jon Bujold had 4.5.

Erik Conrad and Matt Furlino had six tackles each for the Spartans, who fall to 1-3.

The Steelers return to action on June 23 against the Steel City Patriots. Kickoff at Rocky DiPietro Field is set for 7 p.m.

Gauthier Gallops to Winning Score

Original article:  http://www.thesudburystar.com/2018/06/17/gauthier-gallops-to-winning-score-2
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Author and Photo Credits:  Peter Ruicci/Postmedia Network

He’s not the player he once was.

At age 35, Josh Gauthier is no longer the record-setting, championship-winning, nearly-unstoppable running back who once wreaked havoc on Northern Football Conference defences.

But he’s still awfully good.

Gauthier ran 27 yards for the go-ahead touchdown on Saturday, as the Sault Steelers rallied from a 10-0 deficit to defeat the Sudbury Spartans 23-10 at Rocky DiPietro Field.

With the home team trailing 10-8, Gauthier ran a counter, bolting nearly untouched into the Spartans end with 5:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Alanzo Clarke ran in a two-point conversion and the Sault had a 16-10 lead.

Seeing how hard the Spartans were pursuing on power-running plays, Gauthier said he “told Ashton to call a counter,” referring to offensive coordinator Ashton Young. “I took two or three hard steps to the right and the whole defence shifted. You could run a semi through the hole.”

He didn’t need quite that much room, however.

“But once that happened I could use my wheels,” added Gauthier, who had scored earlier on a four-yard run and finished the evening with 104 yards rushing on 11 carries.

“The Gauthier play was the key to the game,” added head coach Brandon Lewis, whose club won its second straight, improving to 2-2 on the season. “It was vintage Josh. He wasn’t going to be stopped by arm tackles. You get him the ball and magic happens. He’s not even in game shape and he’s still a dominant player – absolutely.”

According to Spartans head coach Junior Labrosse, Gauthier’s run was a game-changer.

“That broke our back,” Labrosse added. “They had Gauthier hidden inside. And he paused with the ball until things opened up.”

“I don’t have that top gear like I used to have,” Gauthier admitted. “I’m so far from being what I used to be. But game smarts is something I’ll always have.”

Meantime, three minutes later, the Steelers sealed the win with another impressive run. Stevan Hiiemaa broke a series of tackles and galloped 68 yards for another touchdown.

That made it 22-10 with 2:03 to go in regulation.

Cam Basham booted his second convert to wrap up the scoring.

Jesse Hill had the other point for the winners, nailing a punt 35 yards for a single just before halftime.

“It was a big character win,” said Steelers head coach Brandon Lewis, whose team plays host to the Steel City Patriots this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Rocky DiPietro Field. “We made some mistakes and took some penalties and the first half was very tough on us. But at halftime we talked about leaving the first half behind us.”

Lewis said he thought his team managed the ball better in the second half. And the Steelers defence “had a heck of a game,” he added.

“We were strong and we hit hard,” said first-year linebacker Tom Twentyman, who finished with five tackles. “We had a lot of guys playing a lot of snaps, but we dug deep and found a way. We’re getting better every week.”

En route to completing 9-of-23 pass attempts for 246 yards, Spartans quarterback Hunter Holub hit Sean Moore with a two-yard scoring strike. Massimo Cimino converted and also booted a 17-yard field goal.

“We played three-quarters of a game,” said Labrosse, whose club fell to 1-3. “We had some mental breakdowns. Our offensive line played its best game so far this season, but penalties killed us.”

Notes: Hiiemaa ran for a game-high 130 yards on 10 carries. Clarke went 2-for-7 passing for 22 yards.

On defence, Matt Gauthier had a team-high six tackles for the Sault. Dalton Povey added 5.5 while Jon Bujold was credited with 4.5 tackles. Ron Kelly had an interception.


Spartans optimistic despite defeat

Original article:  http://www.thesudburystar.com/2018/05/27/spartans-optimistic-despite-defeat
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Author and Photo Credits:  Ben Leeson

His team had just suffered a season-opening defeat and man, was he sore.

But Matt Glass had reason to feel good about a gutsy performance in his Northern Football Conference debut at James Jerome Sports Complex on Saturday night.

“It was definitely a different league,” said the rookie running back/receiver, moments after the final horn sounded on a 22-7 loss to the Steel City Patriots. “I’m definitely playing with bigger and better players I’ve never played before, so the intensity of the game was higher, the hits were harder, but I enjoyed it.”

The highlight was certainly his first NFC touchdown, a pass from Hunter Holub and a short run in the second quarter of Saturday’s contest, one of Glass’s four catches for 22 yards.

“As the confidence built up, I started to get a little better, started to adjust more to this new league,” said Glass, previously a standout in the high school and summer varsity ranks.

“I started to figure out what works, what doesn’t work.”

Whether it was Glass, who also recorded 41 rushing yards, Matt Kuzenko, who led the team with four tackles, or defensive back Riley Roy, who had two interceptions and a batted ball, Spartans head coach Junior Labrosse was encouraged by the play of his newcomers and felt there was plenty to build on as the season goes along.

“Growing pains, I knew was going to happen,” Labrosse said. “Hamilton has been training indoors since January, because they have the facilities down south. We don’t have those facilities here and we basically get a month of practice outside and the city books us for an hour and a half. There’s a lot you have to do in an hour and a half, especially when you have this many rookies to this league, where they have to bond and get that connection to their receivers, their running backs, the line, the timing and all this kind of stuff.

“I knew we were going to be in tough, that it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk, and any time you play a southern Ontario team, they have a talent pool to pick from, but I guarantee you if you look at the guys who got knocked out, not our guys. Our guys can play, they hit.”

Labrosse credited the Sudbury defence, the team’s greatest strength last season, for holding them in Saturday’s game while the offence sorted things out.

That defence looked strong early, as the Patriots made their way deep into Spartans territory on the opening kickoff return, only for Sudbury’s Joe Shyminsky to sack Steel City’s Denzel Rocha for a big loss. The visitors had to settle for a single after a missed field goal.

Emotions ran high at times, with both teams giving up several yards in penalties and a good bit of talk between benches, especially in the first half.

Some untimely Patriots penalties helped Sudbury on a long drive led by Holub, Glass and Josh Cuomo, a former all-star running back who played despite a nagging injury and posted a team-high 66 yards rushing, along with 39 receiving. Glass finished things off by taking a pass from Holub near the end zone, taking a hit from a Steel City defender and stretching across the goal line for a TD.

“We haven’t been in full gear practising for more than a month, so we’re still getting everything together, but I think we played great for how much practice we had,” Glass said. “We’re ready to hit the rest of the season hard.”

The Patriots, who picked up several starters from the Oakville Longhorns in the off-season, got their offensive game going later in the second quarter and pulled ahead after a bit TD catch by Josh Vandeweerd with 1:04 left before halftime. Another pass to Cordel Lewis put them up 15-7 in the third and Holub threw an interception for a touchdown, this time by Donovan Saunders, with 3:46 left in the frame.

“Hunter threw a few picks, but it’s a fast game and he’s been out of the game for a little while, too,” Labrosse said. “A few times, there were some breakdowns on the offensive line where there was pressure. There are certain things that are going to have to be addressed, like there’s one guy in the offensive huddle that’s going to talk, and that’s the quarterback. Nobody else has an opinion. When the quarterback has to take a timeout because the offensive line is getting angry or whatever, it doesn’t matter, I’m calling it. Shut up and run the play. That’s what these guys have got to learn. If they can learn to just do as they’re told, they’re going to be great and we’re going to be fine.

“To me, everything was positive tonight. I would have liked to win, but if we can compete with a team that loaded up, took 12 players from Oakville, starters, and we gave up 22, but those were our mistakes, fixable stuff. Last year, that stuff wasn’t fixable. That’s the positive thing.”

The Spartans host the North Bay Bulldogs on June 2 at 7:30 p.m.


Twitter: @ben_leeson