The Bishop Tonnos Titans faced a stiff test to open their 2016 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior high school football season.
Their opponent in front of a full house at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School Wednesday night (Sept. 21) was the Knights, last year’s Golden Horseshoe Bowl champion.
“We’re rebuilding a program that has dipped a little, so absolutely this was a tough challenge,” Tonnos coach Mike Giftopoulos said following his team’s 70-3 loss to the Knights.
Not much went Tonnos’s way after it produced a solid opening drive capped by a 24-yard field goal by Jordan Palios.
After that, the Knights (2-0) dominated both sides of the ball. Offensively, running back Michael Chris-Ike led the way by deking and slashing his way to five touchdowns. His scoring carries were from 25, 35, 29, 60 and 12 yards.
“They have a wonderful organization and the whole atmosphere here is electric,” Giftopoulos said of Tonnos’s nearest West Mountain rival.
Despite the one-sided setback, Giftopoulos is hoping that the Titans fortunes are about to improve in the near future. He says the school is building on a good foundation and expects to win a couple of games this season.
“We have a wonderful junior program that’s going to feed the senior program,” he said. “And we have a great coaching staff in place now. They’re a committed group of individuals that are there for the long term.”
Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that a new artificial turf field has been approved for the Tonnos site. It is scheduled to be completed by next September, Giftopoulos said.
Other More touchdown runs were by Jacob Baker (five yards), Quinn-Matrix-Baker (one yard), Kyle Baker (25 yards) and Keegan Cummings (one yard). Through the air, quarterback Zach Odoardi connected with Jonah McArthur-Bolton for a 20-yard scoring strike.
Kevin Mutuga contributed 10 conversions.
“We didn’t know a lot about them,” More coach Claudio Silvestri said of the visitors. “They caught us off guard on that first drive. I thought our defence did a great job of adapting. And our offence was firing on all cylinders.
“Our offensive line was fantastic. Everybody was executing. Michael ran the ball well, but when he would come off even he would say how good the blocking was. Our whole offensive line from last year has returned. They are well coached and in sync right now.”
In other HWCAA senior action, the Cardinal Newman Cardinals topped the Cathedral Gaels, 37-7, while the Bishop Ryan Celtics edged the St. Mary Crusaders, 27-24.
At Cathedral, the defending-champion Cardinals scored 37 unanswered points to kick off their league schedule with a victory over the Gaels (1-1).
Taking advantage of an early rash of penalties against Newman, Jaxon Ciraolo-Brown accounted for Cathedral’s lone touchdown on a six-yard run. But before the half ended, the Cardinals replied with rushing touchdowns of five yards each by quarterback Jordan Rimac and running back Nicholas Petermann.
A long kickoff by Ethan Bastarache pinned the Gaels back on their 1-yard line to open the second half and, three plays later, Cathedral conceded a safety touch.
Newman then added a 15-yard touchdown scamper by Rimac and a four-yard major along the ground by Petermann.
The Cardinals defence also got into the act when defensive back Kyle Chorazy intercepted an Anthony Pimental pass and returned it 45 yards for a Pick Six.
Bastarache made all five of his convert attempts.
At St. Mary, the Celtics evened their record at 1-1 by rallying from a 14-point deficit against the 0-2 Crusaders. The deciding play – with four minutes, 51 seconds remaining – was a leaping touchdown reception in the end zone by BR’s Jacob Patten. The toss, from quarterback Nicholas Roberto, went into tight coverage and went for 15 yards.
The Celtics comeback was led by running back Lavar Anderson who rushed for a pair of touchdowns (one and 55 yards).
Bishop Ryan kicker John Jaroslawski chipped in with a pair of field goals plus three converts.
Quarterback/kicker Jake Parkinson sparked the Crusaders by running for one touchdown (two yards) and passing to Dylan Wilkins for two others (six and 14 yards). Parkinson also booted three converts and a field goal.
The St. Mary defence stripped the ball from Anderson at the Crusaders 1-yard line with 46 seconds left to give the home team one last-gasp opportunity to score.