SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Waterwise Spartans’ drive to repeat is still alive.
The Spartans posted a solid 22-6 victory over the Charlottetown Privateers in a Papa John’s P.E.I. Bantam Tackle Football League semifinal game on Friday night.
“We played an amazing defensive game,” assessed former Spartans player and current head coach Logan Plant, who praised his team’s running game. “We really shut them down.”
The win secures a berth for the defending league champions in the Ed Hilton Bowl, which will be played in Summerside on Saturday, Nov. 4, at noon. The Spartans will face the winner of Sunday’s semifinal game between the first-place Cornwall Timberwolves and fourth-place Kings County Steelers.
“Playing at home is really nice,” admitted Plant. “We have a lot of fans who come out and cheer us on. Having that home-field advantage will be huge.”
The Potato Bowl, which will decide the varsity league champion, will follow the bantam final at 2:30 p.m. The first-place Summerside Cooke Insurance Clippers have a bye to the final, and will take on the winner of Sunday’s semifinal between Cornwall and Souris.
Before a good crowd at Eric Johnston Field, the Spartans took control early and never trailed.
Summerside quarterback Ethan Haakman opened the scoring on a 75-yard run. The Spartans missed the convert, and led 6-0 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Haakman scored on a five-yard run, and the successful convert made it 14-0.
Then with only three seconds left in the first half, Haakman scored his third touchdown of the game on a 30-yard scramble to make it a three-score game. The convert gave Summerside a 22-0 lead at halftime.
The defences took over in the second half, highlighted by two nice picks by the Spartans’ Kieran Arsenault while Enoch Cormier of the Privateers registered an interception.
Another interception by Spartans safety Luke Quinlan iced the game with two minutes remaining.
Anthony Clyke’s 45-yard punt return got the Privateers on the board with 56 seconds remaining. Charlottetown’s onside kick failed, and the Spartans were able to run out the clock.
Despite windy conditions, Plant says the weather did not cause the Spartans to venture far from their game plan.
“We were pretty confident with passing and running games,” said Plant. “The wind wasn’t a big concern for us, but you could tell the wind did affect our passing. It did cause us a little bit of grief.”