CHARLOTTETOWN – It was a big day for Prince Edward Island football on Saturday.
The P.E.I. under-16 team, under the guidance of head coach Steve Letner and his staff, upset the defending-champion and previously-undefeated Nova Scotia squad 57-46 in the championship game of the 2018 Atlantic Bowl.
“This is what we are all about,” commented a proud Letner. “We battled the heat, the injuries and the challenges of an experienced Nova Scotia squad, and we made football in P.E.I. history.”
Team P.E.I. entered the final, played in hot and humid conditions at the UPEI turf field on Saturday afternoon, “feeling confident and excited” after losing to Nova Scotia by eight points in a close and hard-fought round-robin game on Wednesday.
Parker Williams and Ethan Haakman led multiple drives up and down the field for Team P.E.I., which was not discouraged and didn’t lose its focus after giving up a two-touchdown lead at the end of the first half.
The score remained tight in the second half, until P.E.I. pulled away with a late fourth-quarter drive, again keyed by clutch plays from Haakman and Williams.
“The six-man game is perfect for P.E.I. in regards to sustain and add programs,” said Football P.E.I. president Shaun Matheson. “What a way to finish the week, a championship in the way we are moving in some age groups in P.E.I. for the future.”
Haakman also made some strong defensive plays as did Ivan Kimpinski, who was P.E.I.’s player of the game on the defensive side of the ball.
Along with the close loss to Nova Scotia, P.E.I. defeated New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador to complete round-robin play in second place at 2-1 (won-lost).
New Brunswick defeated Newfoundland and Labrador, a first-time participant in the under-16 Atlantic Bowl, by a 22-0 score to win the bronze-medal game.