WARRIORS MAINTAIN TOP BILLING AFTER DOWNING ANOTHER HIGHLY-RANKED OPPONENT
By Sam Laskaris
The Huron Heights Warriors senior football team not only managed to win yet another game on Friday.
But the Newmarket-based high school squad is also believed to have made a bit of history in the process.
The Warriors downed the visiting St. Roch Ravens from Brampton 10-3. For the top-ranked Huron Heights squad it was its third consecutive victory in as many weeks against an opponent also ranked in the top five provincially.
The Warriors, who trailed 3-0 at halftime, only took the lead midway through the final quarter when they scored what proved to be the only touchdown of the day.
“It was a slow start,” Warriors’ head coach Heath Weir said of his team’s performance. “Our kids are getting a little tired. It’s tough. We’re playing the best of the best every week. Even in the NCAA, Alabama doesn’t play Ohio State, Clemson and Michigan one, two, three ever. They get to play a couple of 1-AA clubs. This is the first time talking to the prognosticators, nobody has ever heard of playing three Top 5 teams in the province in three weeks.”
Weir added he wasn’t overly concerned that his charges were kept off the scoreboard in the opening half. And the Warriors only managed to collect a couple of points in the third quarter, via a safety.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence that we could do it,” Weir said of his team’s comeback victory. “If our defence holds the same like they did and makes plays, we’re just confident. At some point our offence is going to break. Now we only broke for our touchdown today. But that’s all we needed.”
The Warriors then relied on their defence to seal the victory. The Ravens were moving the ball down the field on their final drive in the dying stages of the match with the hopes of possibly tying the game.
But Huron Heights’ Ryan Nesbitt thwarted those plans with an interception in the final minute.
Meanwhile, Alex Figen also had a key interception in the tilt for the Warriors. And Figen also shone offensively as he caught the game-winning TD, on a 31-yard pass from Huron Heights’ QB Ethan Schwarz.
Like Weir, Figen said he wasn’t worried the Warriors had only managed to put up a couple of points going into the fourth quarter.
“We kept getting close,” he said. “We got right down to the one-yard line and we got stuffed. But we just knew we had to keep going. We saw that they were getting tired. They were getting a little rusty. So, we just kept grinding them and stuck to our run game. That’s what we do. And then at the end we snuck in with the pass.”
Figen deserves kudos for reading the play and notifying Schwarz.
“I just looked over and saw there was no safety to my side,” he said, adding he yelled over to Schwartz to make sure he was aware of the situation. “I looked out after I cleared out and the ball was right there and thought that’s it, that’s it.”
Figen said it was necessary for him to get Schwarz’ attention when he saw the Ravens’ defence line up.
“I’m not the first read,” Figen said. “I’m the last read on that play. Nobody was within 10 yards of me. He laid it perfectly into me.”
Figen added he’s thrilled his squad keeps winning against some rather challenging opponents.
“We were able to pull it off,” he said. “And it’s cool to see that we’re making history.”
The Warriors’ next game is Tuesday (Oct. 11) on the road against the Peterborough-based Kawartha Football Academy.