By Larry Moko
Girls’ touch football became a sanctioned sport for the first time this season and the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves hoisted the trophy Wednesday as overall Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic high school champions.
The Braves captured the Tier 1 title with a 14-6 victory in the final over the St. Thomas More Knights.
In Tier 2 action, the St. Mary Crusaders took top honours with a 12-1 decision in the final over the Bishop Tonnos Titans.
All tournament games for the 7-aside contests were played May 17 and 22 on the grass and turf fields at St. Thomas More.
“This is probably my favourite school sport,” said More’s lefty quarterback Alliasen Miscione, who has been recruited to play university basketball for the Laurier Golden Hawks next season. “It’s fun. I’m from a football family.”
This was the sixth year for girls’ touch football in the HWCAA and Miscione has played for four years. She was a member of More’s championship team of 2017.
“It’s a really competitive day,” she said.
Brebeuf was the only team to go undefeated during the two days of competition. The lone blemish to their record was a 1-1 tie against More.
Both touchdowns for Brebeuf in the championship game were scored on long interception returns (50 and 66 yards) by Grade 12 student Victoria Orfei.
“I just tried to read the quarterback to see where the ball was going,” Orfei said. “Then I picked it off.”
Orfei said coach Paul Barrett prepared the team well with a positive attitude and 7 a.m. practices: “We always practised our routes and made sure we got them perfect every time. It’s awesome to win this.”
Barrett described Orfei as a “natural athlete” who has good instincts.
“She jumped the throws before a lot of people would,” he said. “And she has great quickness. She pulled away from everyone.”
More replied with three minutes remaining on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Miscione to Julia Ciaglia to cap an impressive drive.
The Braves also got a 21-yard punt single by Alyssa Kawa and a one-point conversion pass from quarterback Chyann Martin to Kawa.
Barrett, during the Braves post-game huddle, praised several of his players including Martin, a four-year veteran and leader who also excels on defence.
“I’ve been coaching football since 1987 (touch and tackle) and Chyann is one of the toughest players, male or female, that I’ve ever coached,” he said. “She goes hard for the ball when the ball is in the air – not shying away from anything. She just kind of set the tone for the whole squad and she made sure everyone was focused at practice. She’s a winner.”
In the Tier 2 final, quarterback Jayme Foreman connected for touchdown passes covering 65 yards to Kaillie Hall and five yards to Jahnessa Stoner.
“The position was new to Jayme,” St. Mary coach Sean Dennison said. “She was the only one on our team who had played in past tournaments. She was the only one with experience. Quarterback wasn’t her position, but she’s a gamer and a team player who learned as she went.”
In the Tier 2 semifinal, St. Mary topped the Cathedral Gaels, 18-8.
The Tier 1 semifinals saw More blank the Bishop Ryan Celtics, 6-0, and Brebeuf edge the Cardinal Newman Cardinals, 2-0.
Source: Marnie Jadon