Upper Canada College’s varsity soccer and football teams travelled to St. Andrew’s College on Wednesday, Nov. 6 and both emerged with victories to claim Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA) titles.
One of the biggest days for UCC sports in recent memory began with the 11 a.m. varsity soccer game at SAC’s Yuill Family Athletic Complex.
The first half was tightly contested as SAC took a 1-0 lead and could have extended it were it not for some fine goaltending on UCC’s part. The Blues came back to tie the game at one as both sides applied pressure at different times during the half.
The second half was also well-contested, with both teams exchanging scoring opportunities. SAC scored on a rebound off a free kick, but the referee called offside and the goal was waved off, giving UCC a reprieve. The visitors continued to press and, in the 84th minute, scored off a 35-yard free kick. SAC had a couple of corner kicks and a free kick late in the game, but couldn’t capitalize as UCC hung on to win 2-1 and claim the CISAA championship.
After a brief break, the Blues and Saints went at it again — this time in pads. This is the fourth straight year that these two teams have played for the CISAA varsity football championship, with SAC coming out on top for the past two years. A close game was expected between the two league powerhouses, and that’s exactly what it was.
UCC scored an early touchdown, but had the convert blocked, to take a 6-0 lead. After recovering a fumble by the SAC quarterback at the opponents’ 45-yard line, UCC marched down the field and scored on an eight-yard run to go up 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
A UCC quick kick on second down and long caught SAC off guard and UCC almost recovered the ball. SAC also took a penalty and took over at its 15-yard line but was forced to concede a two-point safety after failing to generate much offence. Ill-timed penalties cost UCC throughout the game, and two of them helped SAC drive for a field goal. But UCC answered by utilizing both its running and throwing attacks on an impressive drive that resulted in a touchdown to give the Blues a 22-3 lead with 1:12 remaining in the first half. SAC returned that volley with a touchdown and convert of its own, to make the score 22-10 for UCC at halftime.
A revitalized SAC squad took the field in the second half and opened it with a long touchdown drive to narrow the margin to 22-17. UCC played a field position game by pinning the Saints deep in their territory and SAC elected to concede another safety, putting the Blues up by seven again at the end of the third quarter.
A long SAC punt gave it a single point. SAC then blocked a UCC punt, and UCC took a 15-yard penalty on top of that, to give SAC the ball at the 15-yard-line with nine minutes left. SAC took advantage and scored on a run to take a 25-24 lead after a successful convert.
UCC again fought back, as a big pass completion, a long run and then a five-yard touchdown run gave it a 30-25 lead. A two-point conversion attempt was stuffed, so SAC only had to score an unconverted touchdown to reclaim the lead.
A UCC drive after a SAC punt stalled after a fumble at the SAC five-yard line with less than two minutes left. There were some tense moments, but UCC’s defence held strong as SAC’s final comeback attempt was wiped out on a loss of downs and the game ended with the Blues on top by a five-point margin.
UCC now advances to the Metro Bowl playoffs to decide the best varsity football team in the Greater Toronto Area.
UCC’s junior varsity football team also fought its way to a CISAA final on Wednesday. The team played a road game at St. Michael’s College School and battled until the end when it came out on the short end of a 36-14 decision.