The Spartans will face the Cornwall Timberwolves for the Papa John’s P.E.I. Bantam Tackle Football League title at UPEI on Friday at 6 p.m.
“It will be a great championship game as you have the top two teams in the bantam league, and both games this season were close,” said Spartans assistant coach Brian Doucet. “They (Timberwolves) are well coached, and we expect a tight game.”
Doucet added the Spartans must improve on the seven turnovers they had in two regular-season games against Cornwall.
“We need to take care of the football, and make Cornwall go the long field on our defence,” added Doucet.
Quarterback Luke Payne directs a balanced Summerside offence.
“Luke is new to the game of football, and to be able to handle the quarterback position in his first year shows what kind of player he is,” said Spartans offensive co-ordinator Paul Power. “He has improved every week, is really throwing the ball well now, and is a big threat with his legs.”
Ethan Lawless leads the running attack while receivers Kyle Cameron, Charlie Turner and Ethan Haakman, along with tight ends Colin Goodwin and Blake MacKinnon, add lots of options.
“We have a lot of weapons on offence, and our O-line (Paul Wamboldt, Alex Campbell, Connor Murphy) have been great all season,” said Power. “If everyone does their job executing plays, we should be able to move the football and score some points.
“Our last couple of practices during the bye week have been the best of the year, and the players are really starting to get what we want to do offensively.”
The Spartans’ defence, which has been dominant all season, will need to be strong against the improved Timberwolves’ offence.
Veteran nose tackle Ryan Murphy leads Summerside’s defence, along with middle linebacker Brayden Lawless, who is a dominant force sideline to sideline.
“Our defence has really stepped up this season, and we play both the run and pass very well,” said Summerside defensive co-ordinator Jeff MacDonald. “With the return of Sahib Singh from injury, we now finally have our full complement of defensive players, which is very exciting.”
The Spartans will count on experienced linebackers Finn Turner, Shawn Aitken, Nic Gunning and Singh, Lawless, along with Breton Brown at defensive end.
“If we can get field position for our offence and a couple of turnovers, we like our chances on Friday,” added MacDonald.
Kicker Colin Goodwin has converted 80 per cent of his converts. Goodwin, long snapper Zach Blood and holder Arman Singh will look to continue executing the special-team plays as these kicks are worth two points.
“All our special-team units need to tackle and block well to set up field position,” concluded Doucet. “We’re really excited for Friday’s game, and know all our units will be ready.”
A look at the Ed Hilton Bowl:
Who: Summerside Waterwise Spartans vs. Cornwall Timberwolves.
When: Friday at 6 p.m.
Records: Summerside went 6-0 (won-lost) while Cornwall was 4-2, good for second place in the four-team league.
Head-to-head matchups: Summerside beat Cornwall in both regular-season meetings – 17-0 and 26-20.