In what proved to be an incredibly exciting game under the night lights of MacRae Fields, the Hamilton Wentworth junior varsity Panthers secured a spot in the championship with a heart-stopping 41-35 overtime victory, defeating a tough Toronto Jr. Argo’s team.
The win sends the Panthers to the championship of the Ontario Football Conference’s Junior Varsity division against arch rivals, the Burlington Stampeders. The Stamps defeated the York Simcoe Bucs, 21-3.
The final will be played on Sunday, Aug. 9 at Corpus Christi school field with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.
On Friday night, the Panthers would rally as a team after a one-point deficit at halftime to tie the game 35-35 in the dying seconds with a 25-yard field goal by Jack Fuller. Overtime would be played in a college style 35-yard shootout. The Panthers’ defense would put a quick end to the Argo’s bid for victory with a timely interception by James Parry. Just a few plays into the Panthers’ offensive possession Josh Forester would seal the victory with a TD.
Once again the Panthers’ rushing attack would prove lethal, netting an astonishing 400 yards. The ground game was highlighted by a remarkable 240-yard, 3 touchdown performance by Forester in his triumphant return to the Panthers’ backfield.
Two touchdowns would be added by Fuller on a catch and a run. Quinn Newman would also cap off a Panther drive with a TD. The offensive line of the Panthers was a driving force to the team’s success.
The Panthers’ defense had its hands full trying to counter the attack of Argo’s running back Akeel Lynch. The D-line came up big when needed. Strong performances were turned in by James Parry with 10 tackles in addition to his key interception. Dave Szczyry, with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery, Derek Adam, with 10 tackles, and defensive lineman Wes King, with 6 tackles and a sack stalled the Argos’ offensive efforts, to help set the stage of next week’s finale.