On Friday, the Lorne Park Spartans won their 20th Peel Football Championship, and fourth in six years, with a 28-7 win over the St. Marcellinus Spirit at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke.
With freezing rain hammering down, passing the football was a near-impossibility, so both teams were forced to rely heavily on their ground games. Fortunately for the Spartans, RB Liam Bowman and QB Nolan Dillingham-Morelli answered the brief, rushing for a combined 321 yards and four touchdowns as they completely dismantled the Spirit defense.
Dillingham-Morelli got things started for Lorne Park early in the first quarter. From the Spirit 41, he and Bowman threatened the outside on a read-option, with Dillingham-Morelli ultimately keeping it for the long touchdown run.
St. Marcellinus responded immediately. QB Ben Merritt somehow launched the frozen football deep downfield to WR Joseph Walker, who skillfully hauled it in for a 45-yard gain. A few plays later, RB Jayden Kerr powered his way into the endzone to even up the score 7-7.
From there, the Lorne Park defense shut the door, and the offense kept pounding. On the Spartans next possession, Bowman took a pitch to the outside and broke a pair of tackles as he thundered into the endzone from 21-yards out.
Then, after a Brennan Droughan interception, Dillingham-Morelli skillfully weaved 19 yards for his second major of the day, sending the teams to their locker rooms at the half with the Spartans up 21-7.
Early in the third quarter, the Spartans added to their lead. Bowman took a handoff at midfield and turned in a 55-yard highlight-reel run to put it away.
DB Evan McCullough added an interception late, but this one was already in the books.
Liam Bowman was named the Domino’s Clarkson Player of the Game for the offense, while Max Henry received the honours for the defense.
The team now has two weeks to prepare for the defense of their Provincial Championship title against the Southern Ontario Champion. The game will be played on Tuesday, November 27th at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa.
vs SOSSAA Champion
Tuesday, November 27th
TD Place Stadium
For the fifth time in six years, the Lorne Park Spartans are going to play for the ROPSSAA Championship, after a 6-5 semi-final win over the St. Roch Ravens in Brampton on Friday.
Lorne Park's defense was the story of this game, holding the Ravens to -6 yards rushing, and 36 total net yards, while compiling three sacks and three interceptions.
The Ravens forced a two-and-out to start the game, but the ball was knocked loose on the ensuing punt return, and the Spartans recovered at their own 51-yard line.
From there, Liam Bowman broke free on a 24-yard run, Francis St. Onge took a jet sweep for 12, and Nolan Dillingham dodged his way down to the 1-yard line, before diving across for the TD a play later. The extra point would fail, but six points was all the Spartans would need.
Midway through the second quarter, the Ravens got on the board. After a Lorne Park punt return-fumble, St. Roch took advantage as Matt Vieira booted a 24-yard field goal to cut the lead in half.
The score would remain that way until late in the fourth quarter. After a punt block, the Ravens attempted a long game-tying field goal. The kick sailed left, but it left the Spartans backed up in their own end with under three minutes to go. After a holding penalty backed them up even further, the Spartans elected to take a safety, cutting their lead to one point, but that's as close as the Ravens would get.
Max Ramsay, Liam Jeewan, and Max Henry each had an interception, Mason Tonks added two sacks, and Luke Mezgec another.
The Spartans now take on the St. Marcellinus Spirit at Centennial Stadium on Friday at 11am in the ROPSSAA Championship. Student tickets, which can be purchased from the Lorne Park Phys-Ed office at lunch, are $10, and include bus transportation to the field. Parent tickets can be purchased for $10 directly from Coach Price.
vs St. Marcellinus Spirit
Location: Centennial Stadium
Date: Friday, November 9th
With Smodis, Dillingham-Morelli, and Tejerina all out, the Lorne Park Spartans called on WR Ben Rendeiro to play quarterback, in his first ever start at the position against the St. Marcellinus Spirit at Centennial Stadium on Friday. The fourth string QB didn’t disappoint, going 10 of 17 for 116 yards, earning the Domino’s Clarkson Player of the Game honours in the process. More importantly, Rendeiro put his team in a position to win, driving into St Marcellinus territory in a tie game with only three minutes to play. Sadly, it wasn’t to be for the Spartans, as the Spirit exploded for two long touchdowns in the final two minutes to run away with a 24-10 victory.
St. Marcellinus couldn’t have come out of the gates more quickly. On their opening offensive play, Spirit QB Ben Merritt launched a deep ball to WR Joseph Walker who strolled into the endzone for a 60-yard touchdown.
Late in the second quarter, Lorne Park moved to within four after Francis St Onge booted a 15-yard field goal, which is the way the score stood at the half.
The Spirit restored their seven-point lead midway through the third quarter when Christopher Micelli connected with a 40-yard field goal of his own.
The Spartans tied up the game 10-10 on the opening play of the first quarter when RB Liam Bowman plowed into the endzone from a yard out. Lorne Park continued to apply pressure throughout the quarter, but a Lorne Park turnover on the St. Marcellinus 20-yard line with just over three minutes to go proved to be fatal.
On the next play, Merritt found WR Ryan Francis for a 90-yard touchdown to pull ahead 17-10.
Forced to press with time ticking down, Rendeiro’s pass was picked off by Joseph Walker at the St. Marcellinus 37-yard line. Two plays later, with under a minute to play, Matteo Sepac exploded up the middle untouched for a 44-yard touchdown to finish it off.
The Spirit, undefeated in conference play, now get a bye straight to the ROPSSAA Championship, while the Spartans must travel to St. Roch to take on the Ravens on Friday at noon in the ROPSSAA Semi-final.
Lorne Park at St. Roch
Date: Friday, November 2nd
On Friday, the Lorne Park Spartans dropped their third straight conference game, this one a 34-7 route at the hands of the St. Roch Ravens.
It was a special day for the program as it was a key part of the You Can Play day at Lorne Park. The project, which fights for equality in sports had spokesperson Brian Burke at Lorne Park for a captain’s pledge ceremony and the football program was proud to deliver a cheque for $1,500.
The Spartans looked great for the opening three minutes before the wheels completely fell off. After forcing a two-and-out, Lorne Park took over on their own 20. RB Liam Bowman ripped off two long runs, then QB Nolan Dillingham launched one out to WR Josh Gill for a 46-yard gain. Lorne Park looked poised to score the game’s opening points as they lined up on the St. Roch 15-yard line, but Dillingham was hit by DE Anthony Miller as he looked for Braden Jauernig in the endzone, and the pass sailed into FS Donte Taylor’s waiting arms.
Taking over deep in their own territory, St. Roch marched the ball 94 yards downfield, culminating in a Lucas Ferreira touchdown pass to WR Aman Aujla to put the Ravens up 7-0.
Lorne Park would turn the ball over once again on their next possession. Hit this time by DT Ife Onyeka, Dillingham’s pass flew high into the air and eventually landed in the hands of Raven DB Istvan Assibo-Dadzie.
St. Roch would settle for a 31-yard field goal from Matt Vieira to take a 10-0 lead, and then added a one-yard Chris Aderiye rushing touchdown with seconds remaining in the half.
WR Dylan Nelson took in a TD pass from Ferreira early in the third quarter, and Sean Henry added a 30-yard field goal to make it 27-0 a few minutes later.
The Spartans finally got on the board when Dillingham hit WR Jared Benson in stride for a 45-yard touchdown, but that was as close as they would get.
With just over a minute to go in the game, Aujla made the most of a high snap on a field goal attempt, finding Anthony Miller all alone in the endzone to wrap this one up.
The Domino’s Clarkson Player of the Game on offense was Jared Benson, and John Celej took the Domino’s Clarkson defensive Player of the Game honours.
The Spartans hit the road on Friday to wrap up the regular season against the first place St. Marcellinus Spirit at Centennial Stadium at noon.
vs St. Marcellinus Spirit
Location: Centennial Stadium
Date: Friday, October 26th
The Lorne Park Spartans fell to 0-2 in conference play following a last-second 18-17 loss to the St. Marcellinus Spirit at home. The Spartans had half a dozen chances to put this game away, but failed to convert on every single opportunity as the Spirit walked out of The Cage victorious for the first time in their program’s history.
St. Marcellinus didn’t take long to get things going offensively. On their third play from scrimmage, RB Jayden Kerr took a handoff up the middle, bounced to the outside, and strolled untouched for 57 yards into the endzone. Kerr was so far in the clear, he turned and waved at the Spartans defense when he reached the Lorne Park 30-yard line before turning on the jets to complete the score.
Lorne Park responded with a long drive of their own. RB Justin Bowman ripped off runs of 25 and 22 yards on their first possession, but the drive stalled at the Spirit 7-yard line, and the Spartans settled for a short field goal attempt, which missed to the right, resulting in a rouge.
St. Marcellinus extended their lead on the opening play of the second quarter, as Kerr scampered in from a yard out making the score 14-1.
The score would remain that way until the fourth quarter. Lorne Park QB Luke Tejerina, making his first start in almost a month, connected on deep passes to WR Lucas Ricci and WR Francis St. Onge before plowing it in himself from a yard out to bring the Spartans within six.
St. Marcellinus QB Ben Merritt marched the Spirit right back down the field on consecutive completions to WR Dante Calcagno, but Chris Micelli’s 29-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked by DB Shadi Abdel-Malik, resulting in a rouge.
Tejerina, mixing in the occasional pitch to Bowman, brought the Spartans right back down the field, hitting WR Josh Gill, St. Onge, and finally Jared Benson on a deep corner route. Bowman capped the drive with a short touchdown run, but the convert failed, leaving the Spartans a point short, trailing 15-14 with only three minutes to play.
The Lorne Park defense forced a two-and-out, giving the ball back to the offense near midfield with just over two minutes remaining.
The Spartans, mixing in carries by RB Connor Kellock, Bowman, and Tejerina, moved quickly on the ground all the way down to the Spirit 7-yard line. This time, the field goal was true, putting the Spartans up 17-15 with just 36 seconds left in the game.
St. Marcellinus bobbled the ensuing kickoff out of bounds at their own 25-yard line, which is where they’d start their final drive, needing a miracle.
Merritt’s first down pass was incomplete down the right sideline. On second down, Merritt was swarmed and sacked by the entire defensive line, but Lorne Park was flagged for unnecessary roughness for not releasing the QB at the whistle.
With 18 seconds remaining, Merritt was sacked once again, but this time the Spartans were flagged for a facemask.
On the next play, Merritt connected with WR Joseph Walker for a 15-yard gain, down to the Lorne Park 39-yard line with four seconds left in the game.
An ambulance was called to the field following the play as Lorne Park DB Brady Farquharson collided awkwardly with one of his own teammates. After Farquharson was attended to by medical personnel for twenty minutes, the crowd, and both teams stood applauding as he was able to get to his feet and into the ambulance on his own steam. As seriously as football is regarded by both programs, this was an emotional moment, and a reminder that the health and safety of all players is more important than anything else that happens on the field.
Following the lengthy delay, with four seconds left to play, Chris Micelli lined up for a 46-yard field goal from the right hash, into the wind. The Spartans came at it with everything they had, but Micelli’s kick was perfect, splitting the uprights as the clock hit zero.
For St. Marcellinus, Ben Merritt finished the day 4 of 8 for 50 yards. Jayden Kerr had 151 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns, as the Spirit racked up 230 rushing yards, the most allowed by a Lorne Park defense since 2006.
Tejerina was 7 of 13 for 137 yards, adding 77 more and a touchdown on the ground on 11 carries. Justin Bowman carried the rock 21 times for 141 yards and a touchdown as the Spartans tallied 261 rushing yards.
DB Max Ramsay was the Domino’s Clarkson Defensive Player of the Game. QB Luke Tejerina was the Domino’s Clarkson Offensive Player of the Game.
vs St. Roch Ravens
Location: The Cage
Date: Friday, October 19th
On Friday, the Lorne Park Spartans dropped their first conference game of the season 14-10 to the St. Roch Ravens in Brampton.
In many ways, it was a typical smash-mouth ROPSSAA football game, but there were some very strange elements to it as well.
For starters, the Lorne Park team bus never made it to the school, forcing the team to hail cabs half an hour before kickoff. St Roch generously offered to delay the start of the game, which they didn’t have to do, but due to cab availability, the last three Lorne Park cabs didn’t show up until just after half time.
With chaos on the Lorne Park sideline as lineups were adjusted on the fly, St. Roch’s Jared Tucci took the opening kickoff 80-yards to the house to put the Ravens up 7-0. Those opening 12 seconds proved costly for the Spartans.
Both defenses were outstanding on this day, with the Spartans holding the Ravens to under 100 total yards, and a measly 3-yards rushing. The St. Roch defense, meanwhile stifled the Lorne Park passing attack, limiting them to 49 yards through the air, and forcing four turnovers. The Spartans logged 189 yards on the ground, but couldn’t string drives together as the Ravens defense bent but didn’t break.
It was still 7-0 at the half.
Lorne Park’s Luke Tejerina kicked a 42-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half, but the Ravens answered right back as QB Lucas Ferreira hit WR Tyler Quarry with a 28-yard touchdown pass to put the Ravens up 14-3.
The Spartans rallied late, as QB Nolan Dillingham-Morelli hit WR Josh Gill on a 47-yard bomb, and then called his own number, pushing his way into the endzone from a yard out. But that’s how the game would end.
“I thought we played a great game, defensively,” said Lorne Park head coach, Scott Price, “but we lost the turnover battle 4-0, allowed a blocked punt, and a kickoff return touchdown. The bus situation didn’t help, but that’s not why we lost the game, St. Roch made plays when they had to, and we didn’t. Simple as that.”
The Clarkson Domino’s Pizza Player of the Game on defense is LB Max Henry, who contributed with seven solo tackles, and broke up a pass. Offensively the Clarkson Domino’s Player of the Game is DL Carr Hogan, who was forced to start on the offensive line for the first time, and was directly responsible for the Spartans being able to run at will on the Ravens, racking up 189 rushing yards.
The Ravens head into the bye on a positive note, as the Spartans turn their attention to the St. Marcellinus Spirit who visit the Cage on Thursday at noon for Lorne Park’s home opener.
vs St. Marcellinus Spirit
Location: The Cage
Date: Thursday, Oct. 4
On Friday, the Lorne Park Spartans closed out the non-conference portion of their 2018 campaign with a convincing 34-7 win over the Northern Red Knights at Clarke Pulford Field.
With 80kph gusts of wind, both teams relied heavily on their respective running games. This one was never really in doubt, as the Spartans jumped out to an early lead, and their defense absolutely shut the door.
Lorne Park got on the board first when RB Connor Kellock romped into the endzone from five yards out. Kellock, a DL under normal circumstances, came into the game to give starting RB Lucas Ricci a breather, and he made the most of it.
A few minutes later, after the defense forced a turnover, the Spartans doubled their lead on a Nolan Dillingham-Morelli QB draw.
Northern drew within seven on the next play thanks to a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Lorne Park would answer with a bomb from Dillingham-Morelli to Braden Jauernig who made a sensational catch in the endzone while also drawing a flag for pass interference.
Northern’s only foray into Spartans territory lasted for only one play, midway through the third quarter. Max Ramsay broke up a pass on third and long, and that would do it offensively for the Red Knights.
With Ricci cramping, Kellock was called upon once more, and he would cash in to put Lorne Park up 28-7.
Devyn Webster-Cho added a 59-yard pick-six late in the fourth to cap the scoring for the Spartans.
Dillingham-Morelli finished the day 9/18 for a modest 108 yards. Ricci led all back with 60 yards on nine carries, as the Spartans compiled almost 200 yards rushing as a team.
Elsewhere around the league, St. Marcellinus edged out St. Roch 10-8, Mount Carmel squeaked by David Suzuki 9-8, St. Thomas Aquinas defeated St. Marguerite d’Youville 15-6, Robert Hall took down Humberview 21-0, and St. Francis Xavier hammered Mayfield 23-0.
The Spartans open their conference schedule at St. Roch on Friday.
@ St. Roch Ravens
Ravens Nest, Brampton, Ontario
The Lorne Park Football Car Wash, organized by the Lorne Park Booster Club, was a huge success. Cars lined the Lorne Park student parking lot all day long as players and coaches from both Junior and Senior teams hosed, soaped, scrubbed, and chamoised away.
Thanks to the event sponsor, Armor All, for providing all the supplies, Starbucks Fowler Drive for donating the coffee, Erin Henry for picking up the pizza tab, and the Lorne Park custodial staff for being incredibly supportive. Thanks also to the Lorne Park community who turned up in droves to support their local high school football team.
On Thursday, the Lorne Park Spartans defeated the St. Paul Patriots 28-0 in Niagara Falls.
The Spartans took control from the first drive of the game and never looked back. QB Nolan Dillingham-Morelli orchestrated a 12-play drive on the opening series, culminating in a 24-yard touchdown pass to Braden Jauernig to put the Spartans up 7-0.
LB Max Henry intercepted a pass on St. Paul’s first series, and moments later, the Spartans cashed in once again.
After a second Max Henry interception, Lorne Park found themselves up 21-0 at halftime, and put it in cruise control from there.
Dillingham-Morelli finished the day 12 of 19 for 224 yards, with two touchdowns and another one on the ground.
"I thought we played well defensively," said head coach Scott Price, "but we have to eliminate the penalties. Offensively, it was good to have Nolan back, but our timing isn't quite there yet, probably due to adjusting from our time in the States. We've got one more week before our first conference game, so hopefully we look a bit more polished against Northern."
The Spartans travel to Toronto on Friday to take on the Northern Red Knights at 1:30pm in a non-conference matchup. I
@ Northern Red Knights
Clarke Pulford Field, Toronto, Ontario
The Spartans opened the season with a hard-fought 42-0 loss to the Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin Lions in Chardon, Ohio on Friday night.
Despite the lopsided score, Lorne Park head coach, Scott Price, was encouraged by the team’s performance. “I actually thought we played pretty well,” said Price. “We’re ten practices in, and we weren’t able to have a spring camp this year, so we’re very raw right now. Playing a team like NDCL is great for us because it shows guys where they need to get to.”
Notre Dame is ranked 4th in Ohio among III Division teams, and looked the part, limiting the Spartans to 117 total yards while racking up 323 themselves.
With both of Lorne Park’s QBs unable to make the trip, LB Luke Tejerina took the helm for the first time. Tejerina finished the day 3 of 10 for 35 yards, adding 21 yards on the ground with two turnovers. RB Liam Bowman led all Lorne Park rushers with 44 yards on 10 carries. Defensively, Max Henry and Connor Kellock led the Spartans with seven solo tackles each.
The Spartans travel to Niagara Falls on Thursday to play the St. Paul Patriots at 2:00pm in another non-conference game.
@ St. Paul Patriots.
Patriots Field, Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The 2018 high school football season is finally here, and the Lorne Park Spartans (0-0) find themselves with a familiar target on their collective backs after winning their third provincial championship in five years.
The Spartans couldn’t have scheduled a more difficult start to this campaign, as they travel to Chardon, Ohio to take on the powerhouse Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin Lions (2-0) in a non-conference game on Friday night. The Spartans will also visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and take in an NCAA game at Hall of Fame Stadium on Saturday.
Lorne Park opened their 2013 and 2014 seasons in Dover, Ohio, and their 2016 season in Detroit, Michigan, but they have yet to take on an American opponent with the credentials of the NDCL Lions, ranked 4th in Ohio among DIII schools. To make things more difficult still, the Spartans will be travelling south of the border with a skeleton crew.
“Playing in the States is a great way to start the season,” said Lorne Park head coach, Scott Price. “It allows us to start camp in mid-August, and it’s great for our guys to see the calibre of play down there so they know where they need to get to by the end of the season. The one problem,” continued Price, “is that we never have our full roster for the trip, and this one is no exception.”
The Spartans, who typically dress 50 players, are expected to travel with a roster of only 30. Most of their projected defensive starters are making the trip, but they’ll be extremely light on the offensive side of the ball, most notably at QB. With last year’s League MVP QB Christian Smodis, and JV Offensive MVP QB Nolan Dillingham both unavailable, the Spartans have been trying out LB Luke Tejerina, WR Lucas Ricci, and WR Ben Rendeiro under center over the past two weeks.
“All three guys have looked good, given the circumstances, but Tej is probably our best option right now,” commented Lorne Park’s offensive coordinator, Ben Grant. “He’s got a cannon for an arm, he’s shown no fear in the pocket, and he has a great understanding of the game.”
With Tejerina, a Team Ontario LB, expected to make his first ever start on the offensive side of the ball, it remains to be seen how much his presence will be missed as the signal-caller on defense.
There’s a youth-movement afoot at Lorne Park, with the majority of the team made up of grade 11 players. Only four starters remain from last year’s squad, and there are big shoes to fill, including the shoes of six players who are now playing football on Saturdays. Expectations are always high for one of Canada’s most decorated high school football programs. Who will step up this year for the Spartans? This question will be answered on Friday night in the Buckeye State.
@ Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin Lions.
Lions Stadium, Chardon, Ohio.