OSS lost to Eastview 31-13
Dave Dawson/The Packet & Times Orillia Secondary School receiver Quin Bartlett corrals a pass from quarterback Jacob Johnson to earn a first down as the Nighthawks battled Eastview at the West Orillia Sports Complex. The Barrie team scored 17 fourth-quarter points to earn a 31-13 victory.
After being on the wrong end of two routs to open their Simcoe County Athletic Association season, the Orillia Secondary School senior boys' football team was looking to get back on track this week against the undefeated Eastview Secondary School squad from Barrie.
In their "Wednesday Night Lights" clash at the West Orillia Sports Complex, the Nighthawks' offence took flight, the defence found their mojo and the youthful, rebuilding team held their own for much of the game against a deeper and stronger Eastview squad.
After the Wildcats scored an early major and capitalized on a turnover to score a second touchdown on the second play of the second quarter, the Nighthawks were down 14-0 and things looked bleak for a team that had been outscored 57-6 in its first two games.
But OSS quarterback Jacob Johnson, who looked nervous early on, connected on a 20-yard pass to a streaking Shawn McManus, who corralled the ball in stride and raced about 30 yards into the end zone for the team's first major, cutting the lead to 14-6. The touchdown capped an impressive, long drive in which Josh Buckindale and Tyler Duffy made big gains to pace a strong rushing attack.
Late in the first half, Tornel Reil caught an Eastview punt deep in his own end and, after sidestepping a couple of tackles, put on the jets and scrambled down the right side of the field to score an impressive 70-plus-yard touchdown that brought fans to their feet.
The Nighthawks were a confident bunch heading into the second half, trailing just 14-13 against an explosive Wildcats team. The hosts kept up their strong play, keeping the Wildcats at bay in a scoreless third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, however, the Nighthawks, who don't have the depth other teams boast, faded and inexperience proved costly. An OSS turnover handed Eastview excellent field position which led to a Wildcats' touchdown that was followed by a field goal on the ensuing drive. The visitors added a meaningless last-minute touchdown to record the 31-13 decision.
While the result was not what the Nighthawks hoped for, the final score did not reflect how tight this game was. The Nighthawks proved their mettle against a strong team and have lots of reason for optimism despite seeing their record fall to 0-3.
Coach Dave Joy cited Alex Greven and Jack Atkinson for their strong defensive play and lauded Reil for his fine play that included a key interception against the Wildcats (3-0).
The Nighthawks next see action Oct. 19 when they travel to Innisfil to battle the undefeated Nantyr Shores Secondary School Tritons.