Spartans meet undefeated Sackville to decide Moncton association champions
SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Cox and Palmer Spartans will play the biggest game of their young football careers on Sunday.
© Submitted photo
The Summerside Cox and Palmer Spartans will meet the Sackville Titans in the championship game of the Moncton Football Association’s Atom Division at Rocky Stone Field in Moncton, N.B., on Sunday afternoon.
The Spartans will face the undefeated Sackville Titans in the Moncton Football Association’s Atom Division championship game at Rocky Stone Field at 2 p.m.
“We feel we have a great game plan in place, and if we execute it we have a great chance to upset Sackville,” commented Spartans head coach John Turner. “If you told us at the beginning of the season that we would be playing in the league final, we would have taken it in a heartbeat.
“But now that our guys have earned the right to play in this game, we are in it to bring home the championship. It should be fun. . . it will be a great game.”
It’s a matchup of the league’s top two teams. The Titans are 9-0 (won-lost) while the Spartans are 9-1. Summerside’s only loss – 32-22 – was at home against Sackville in early October.
“Sackville has a great football program over there, and if we play up to our capabilities we feel we have a great shot at winning this game,” said Spartans defensive co-ordinator Paul Walsh. “Our only game with them we had three turnovers, and two of them were inside their 10-yard line, so we hurt ourselves in that game.”
Summerside advanced to the final with a 33-23 win over the Moncton Blue Bombers in an intense physical semifinal. The Titans beat the Riverview Royals 24-20 in their semifinal.
“This should be a great game, the top two teams in the league, and the team that doesn’t turn the ball over and executes the best on both offence and defence will win,” added Walsh.
Quarterback Charlie DesRoches, who had 10 touchdown passes, two interceptions and has been a big contributor in the running game, leads the Spartans offensively.
“We have a very good passing attack, and the last three or four games we have been throwing it as much as we have been running the ball,” said Spartans offensive co-ordinator Dave Chisholm. “If they want to play the run against our offence we have great receivers in Sahib Singh, Charlie Turner, Aiden Casford and Connor Gallant to open up the passing game.
“We have revamped our passing attack to play Sackville’s zone defence, which will hopefully make a big difference on Sunday. We were able to practise this in game situations in our last regular-season game and our first playoff game against Amherst, so we are very confident now in using it.
“We feel we have a great game plan in place, and if we execute it we have a great chance to upset Sackville. If you told us at the beginning of the season that we would be playing in the league final, we would have taken it in a heartbeat. But now that our guys have earned the right to play in this game, we are in it to bring home the championship. It should be fun. . . it will be a great game.” Spartans head coach John Turner
“They (Titans) are the only team all season we faced who play a zone defence, and now we have a good game plan to attack that scheme.”
On the ground, rookie running backs Connor Keough and full back Parker Williams both had solid seasons for the Spartans, and can move the pile when needed.
“We need our offensive line of Nathaniel Mueller, Alex Campbell and Cameron Murray to be aggressive on Sunday,” commented Spartans offensive line coach Todd Williams. “Their blocking will be key in both the running and passing game,”. “If we can control the line of scrimmage, we will score some points as we have scored on every drive this season except when we have turned the ball over.”
Summerside will require its best tackling game of the season to slow down Sackville’s powerful running game.
Linebackers Finn Turner, Landon Gallant, Parker Gallant and Nic Gunning will need to pursue the ball and make tackles for the Spartans. The defensive line of John Quinlan, Cole Carr and Paul Wamboldt will need to pressure the quarterback on passing downs, and to get up field to disrupt the Sackville running game if Summerside is going to slow down its offence.
“They have a couple of key players on offence that our defence needs to be aware of, and if we can slow them down we like our chances,” added Walsh.
The Spartans will look for corners Max Chisholm, Zander Farquason and safety Kaeden McInnis to be aggressive on balls in the air.
Kicker Parker Gallant has hit 75 per cent of his two-point converts, and will need to continue that as every point will be critical.
The Spartans are hoping Keough won’t have to punt much on fourth down. He has one punt to his credit this season for an average of 30 yards.
Both kickoff and kick return units will need to tackle and block respectively to minimize the Titans’ returns, and open some lanes for Summerside returners Charlie Turner and Keough.