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Blues lose in OFSAA football bowl game

OFSAA football final

The UCC Blues defence was on the field for much of the second half.

Upper Canada College’s varsity football team would have won an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations bowl game on Nov. 27 had the rules been that the first team to score wins.

Unfortunately, there were about 43 more minutes to play after the Blues scored the opening touchdown of their game against Windsor’s W.F. Herman Secondary School’s Green Griffins, and the team from the border city scored the rest of the points on its way to a 41-7 victory.

UCC’s roving reporter got caught in traffic and didn’t arrive at Etobicoke’s Centennial Stadium until just before the first half ended, with the Griffins leading the Blues 14-7.

The Blues players — wearing rain gear from the University of Guelph Gryphons (coached by Old Boy and UCC benefactor Stu Lang ’70) while on the sidelines to protect them from the bitter cold, wind and snow — held their opponents and took over on downs at their 20-yard line after the opening drive of the second half. A nice pass and run play got the Blues to midfield before the offence stalled, but a good punt put the Griffins back at their 12-yard line.

It wasn’t long, however, before a Griffin runner took off 92 yards down the sideline to score a touchdown. The good news for the Blues was that its defenders blocked the convert, so the score was now 20-7.

The Griffins caught the Blues off guard with an onside kick and recovered it at the UCC 39-yard line. It moved the ball 36 yards before the third quarter ended, and punched the ball across the goal line for a touchdown to begin the final quarter. A two-point convert attempt failed, which made the score 26-7 and had the heavily partisan, green-clad crowd cheering even more enthusiastically for the South Western Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association champions.

Things were looking up for the Blues when a 39-yard kickoff return had it starting with decent field position at its 44-yard line, but an interception on second down was returned by a Griffin player all the way to the Blues’ one-yard line. It didn’t take long to get that next yard, and this time the convert was successful, so the Griffins extended their lead to 33-7.

The situation went from bad to worse when UCC fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Griffins recovered at the Blues’ 39-yard line. UCC penalties, which plagued the team through the second half, combined with the Griffins’ strong running game to enable the Windsor team to score another touchdown on a five-yard dash. A fumbled snap on the convert attempt left the score at 39-7.

Both teams exchanged punts around midfield, and UCC looked to put its first points of the second half on the board when it took over at its 19-yard line. But the Griffins defence, which played well against the run all game and had the Blues throwing in a cold wind that made completing passes difficult, held strong again. The Blues conceded a safety to increase the Griffins advantage to 41-7, and the last couple of minutes mercifully ticked down quickly to make that the final score.

This wasn’t the way the Blues wanted to end their season, but winning the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association championship earlier in the month with an exciting victory over the St. Andrew’s College Saints is something that all of the players and coaches can still be proud of.