Nantyr Shores keeps undefeated streak alive; Barrie's St. Joan of Arc up next in Georgian Bay title game
Shutting down the play, Braedon Lee Haines of the Nantyr Shore Tritons brings down Perri Thomas of the Bear Creek Kodiaks during Thursday's Simcoe County Athletic Association championship game held at J.C. Massie Field in Barrie. The Tritons won, 38-0. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO
This was a second chance for the Nantyr Shores Tritons.
They weren’t going to let it slip away.
The senior boys football team, one year removed from an agonizing defeat at this stage, came out flying early and crushed the Bear Creek Kodiaks, 38-0, in the Simcoe County Athletic Association (SCAA) final on Thursday.
“Honestly, for the Grade 13’s that came back from last year, the (2016 championship loss to Bear Creek) was heartbreaking,” said Nantyr Shores veteran Dylan Beattie. “Last year was our biggest motivation to come out and win like we did today.”
This is the first senior football title the Tritons have ever won, and the team is stocked with many of the same players that took the junior crown in 2014.
At the senior level, Nantyr Shores had been dominant since last season, when it had run the table before falling to the same Kodiaks in the 2016 championship in a defensive struggle.
On Thursday, though, the Tritons offence was rolling.
After a Steven Sadl-Kolchetski punt return started it in Bear Creek’s half, a pair of runs by Jordan Austin and Dave Johnson moved Nantyr Shores to the one-yard line.
Without their regular fullback in action, the Tritons instead handed the ball to Gavin Coffin, who busted into the end zone to give Nantyr Shores the lead.
“We were all fired up coming into it,” Beattie said. “We had our fullback injured, our right tackle hurt, so we had guys playing both ways.
“We had to work hard in practice to figure out what we needed to do, and we executed.”
On their next possession, quarterback Spencer Cropper timed out a screen pass to Steven Noble, and he would make a trio of defenders miss, juking past them and going 40 yards to make it a 14-0 Tritons advantage.
Special teams would also tilt in Nantyr Shores’s favour in this one, as Beattie’s punt single added to its lead, while on Bear Creek’s next possession, Broderick Black would block a boot, giving the Tritons great field position to begin the second quarter.
A low snap wouldn’t faze Cropper, as he picked up the ball, rolled to his left and connected with Austin up the middle.
The running back would take the ball the rest of the way, going 19 yards to make it 22-0 for Nantyr Shores.
On the next possession, Austin would have a trio of runs in succession, the last of which got him back to paydirt for another touchdown.
“The (offensive line) stepped up big today,” Beattie said. “It’s great to see when they all have fun together and click out there.”
Even when things were going wrong for Nantyr Shores, it was still working out, as Beattie’s crossing route that shouldn’t have been turned into an 18-yard strike, extending the Tritons cushion to 36-0.
“Honestly, I was on the wrong side,” said Beattie with a laugh. “I was supposed to be running the other way.
“But still, (Cropper) is amazing and he found me open anyways, and gave me a ball to my chest so I could find the end zone.”
Meanwhile, Bear Creek could not get anything going in the first half, as the Nantyr Shores defence overwhelmed the Kodiaks.
“Coach (Mike) Tutty is a genius (running the defence),” Beattie said. “He knows what the other team is going to run before they even do it.
“Our defence out there, led by Steven Noble and Matt Ferguson, was clicking out there, and they’re a family back there and they take it really seriously.”
Already ahead 38-0 at the half, the Tritons were cruising.
Bear Creek tried to push forward, with quarterback Cole Blake taking the ball himself to extend a drive on third down, but it would fall short three plays later.
Despite the defensive dominance from the Tritons, they would only force a single turnover, when Black forced a fumble that Coffin recovered.
In the second half, Nantyr Shores rotated in and out subs, as it had done many times this year.
The Tritons will want everyone fresh for next Thursday’s Georgian Bay Secondary School Association final against the St. Joan of Arc Knights, with a berth in the National Capital Bowl on the line.
“This is big,” Beattie said. “I won it in Grade 10, but it ended there, and there was no (bowl) game.
“I really wanted it last year, but we’ve got a great group of guys this year and a chance to (move) on to the next level.”