Cardinals lose to Rams, in GHAC championship
By Laura Lennie, News Staff
Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School senior football team’s 2012 season came to a halt last week.
The Cardinals lost to the MM Robinson Rams 25-21 in the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference (GHAC) championship last Friday at Nelson High School in Burlington.
“The boys played with a physical toughness and determination like they displayed all season,” head coach Gordon Chiarot said. “Although it was a disappointing loss, the coaching staff are very proud of our team’s performance this year.”
Cardinal Newman played a solid first half defensively, containing MM Robinson’s major threats and forcing some key turnovers.
Offensively, though, the Cardinals had difficulty handling the Rams’ rush and putting a series of first downs together.
MM Robinson led 8-7 at the end of the first half.
A drive aided by a strong running performance from the Cardinals’ Eric Mezzalira led to a Jake Marquette to Dan Petermann touchdown, pulling Cardinal Newman into a 14-11 lead, heading into the fourth quarter.
Chiarot said injuries then began to pile up and the Cardinals’ defensive unit was hard pressed to hold a talented Rams squad.
Cardinal Newman battled right down to the final whistle, leaving it all on the field, he added.
“In taking nothing away from a very talented and well coached MM Robinson team, the playing of a third game in 10 days through a very tough Hamilton Catholic league schedule was very self-evident as a determining factor in our loss last Friday,” Chiarot said. “The level of competition and coaching in Hamilton and Burlington does not provide for any disadvantage such as that.”
The Cardinals earned a trip to the GHAC final after scoring its second straight Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association (HWCAA) championship Nov. 13, defeating the St. Thomas More Knights 23-21 at Ron Joyce Stadium.
The Cardinals defeated St Jean de Brébeuf 42-7 in the semifinal and shutout St. Mary 51-0 in the quarter-final en route to the HWCAA final.
The team ended the regular season in second place with a 5-1 record, finishing two points back of the first-place Knights.
Chiarot said the HWCAA championship was “one of the most exciting championship games in recent history.”
“We played an extremely intense and hard-hitting game against a very talented St. Thomas More squad. It was a very satisfying and validating win for our team,” he said. “It reinforced our motto and belief that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ The boys displayed the mental focus, discipline and character needed to overcome some daunting adversity throughout the year and especially in the championship game.”
Chiarot said Cardinal Newman’s squad was led by some very strong individual performances throughout the season.
“These performances, coupled with improved team play, allowed for the success we achieved on the field. Overall, the boys improved throughout the season and were playing close to their potential by the end,” he said. “The return of an experienced group of 23 players and the addition of some talented juniors will provide next year’s squad with the very good chance of continued success in Hamilton Catholic senior football.”
Cardinal Newman junior football team’s season also came to an end last week.
The team lost to St. Thomas More 26-21 in the semifinal last Friday at home, after finishing the regular season in first place with a 6-0 record.