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Bantam Spartans looking to repeat


SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Waterwise Spartans are looking to repeat as Papa John’s P.E.I. Bantam Tackle Football League champions.

The Summerside Waterwise Spartans will face the Eastern Kings Steelers in the Hilton Bowl on Saturday. The Papa John’s P.E.I. Bantam Tackle Football League championship game will be played at the Terry Fox Complex in Cornwall, with opening kickoff set for noon.

The undefeated Spartans will take on the second-place Eastern Kings Steelers in the Ed Hilton Bowl at the Terry Fox Complex in Cornwall on Saturday at noon.

The matchup features the league’s two hottest teams – the undefeated Spartans and the Steelers, who have won four straight games after starting 0-3.

Offence

The offensive line of Luke Trainor, Braden Rogerson and Andrew Gunning has led Summerside’s offence all season. 

“It all starts up front and the O-Line has improved each week,” said offensive line coach Cody MacKay. “They have opened holes all season for our running game, and provided great pass protection in our passing game.”

Quarterback Owen Turner has been solid running the offence, getting the team in the right formations, making good decisions and taking care of the football. 

“We had two great practices this week, and we are excited for the championship game,” said Spartans offensive co-ordinator Paul Power. “Our energy, blocking and execution was sharp all week, and we need to carry this over to Saturday. 

“We are confident we will put some points on the board on Saturday against a good Steelers’ defence.”

Summerside will look for wide receivers Parker Cameron, Blake Gallant and Max McCarville to continue making plays on passes and block for running backs Dylan Mugridge and Cameron Gallant. 

“We have a lot of weapons on offence,” said Power. “We can run inside and outside, and we have a good passing attack.

“We aren’t afraid to give the ball to any of our players in any situation.”

Defence

Defensively, the Spartans’ toughest test will be against the much-improved Steelers.

The linebacking unit of Colton Perry, Dakota Fear, Ben Tanton, Sahib Singh and Dexter Stewart, along with the improving play of the defensive line – Alex McGrath, Ryan Murphy and Josh Myers – led the defence.

“Our linebackers have been very consistent all season and the strength of our team, but our D-Line has probably improved the most since the beginning of the season,” commented defensive co-ordinator Jeff MacDonald. “They need to get penetration against the Steelers’ O-Line so our linebackers can come down hill and make tackles.” 

Special teams

Summerside’s special teams have performed well. 

Place-kicker Parker Cameron made many converts, and even attempted a 40-yard field goal this season. Cameron also handles kickoffs and punts. 

“Special teams are very important,” said Spartans assistant coach Brian Doucet. “Usually in a big game they make a big play that turns the momentum.

“We need to play our best game of the season in all three phases.”

Depth

Summerside has lots of depth with 32 players. 

“Luckily, we had some big leads in games, so all our guys got to play quite a bit,” added Doucet. “That playing time is invaluable as you don’t know when an injury will occur.

“We have a lot of confidence in our players that may have to come off the bench at any position.”

Inside The Numbers

A look at the

Hilton Bowl teams:

Summerside Spartans

Regular-season record: 7-0.

Placing: First.

Points for: 384.

Points against: 83.

Head to head: 46-14 win.

Eastern Kings Steelers

Regular-season record: 4-3.

Placing: Second.

Points for: 196.

Points against: 131.

Head to head: 46-14 loss.

Quote: “I thought when we played them back in September that they would be a good football team by the end of the season,” said Spartans head coach John Turner. “Here they are in the final playing their best football of the season, and we need to match their emotion and energy from the opening kickoff. 

“They will be a tough football team, and if we want to win the championship we will need to play Spartans’ football on offence, which is blocking, execution and taking care of the football, and on defence reading, reacting and making the tackle.”

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