By Larry Moko
Two years ago kicker Vince Triumbari missed a last-second, wind-blown, 35-yard field goal that could have won the junior football championship for Newman over the Bishop Ryan Celtics.
He felt terrible about that.
But Friday, on the same field against the same school, he more than made up for it.
Triumbari booted five field goals, a single and a conversion to help the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals defeat the Celtics 25-0 in a Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic semifinal playoff.
“This game meant so much to me,” Triumbari said. “As many people know, when I was in Grade 10 we lost the championship to Bishop Ryan because I missed a field goal. That really motivated me. I took it to heart seeing my teammates crying in the change room.
“Ever since then I’ve been training and training. My graduation quote was ‘Embrace your failure and turn it into your success.’
Triumbari’s three-pointers were from 28, 36, 33, 23 and 21 yards. A sixth field-goal attempt was partially blocked and thrown off course at the line but still managed to soar into the end zone for a point. “Kicking is tough … you can’t let it get to your mind,” he said. “It’s always about the next kick.”
Triumbari, who also excels at soccer for Newman, has attended several kicking camps in the past couple of years and hopes to play university and professional football.
“I want to be a kicker for the rest of my life,” he said.
With the victory, the second-place Cardinals advance to the league championship against the St. Thomas More Knights. That game – a 6 p.m. start — will be held Friday, Nov. 8 at Tim Hortons Field.
The lone touchdown for Newman came in the third quarter on a one-yard run by Drake Bodi. It was set up by Mark Skerl’s 50-yard punt return.
The Celtics also yielded a two-point safety touch.
“Our defence responded well today,” Newman coach Lino Battilana said. “We were all over them.
“We really worked with our ends. We knew they (Bishop Ryan) attack the perimeter, so we wanted to make sure we played it properly. They did a great job for us.”
Numerous key tackles and sacks were made by Newman defenders Anthony Moretuzzo and Yunis Larry. “Both boys were all over the field,” Battilana said. “Yunis is in Grade 11, so he’s got a couple of great years ahead of him. And Anthony has been highly recruited to play at the next level.”
Despite only scoring one offensive touchdown, Battilana was satisfied: “Vince came through again. He was a one-man show with five field goals. We’re happy with that.
“We spend a great deal of time on our special teams. We see it as an opportunity for us to win a football game. We give it equal importance with our offence and defence.”
Bishop Ryan, which trailed 9-0 at the half, got two interceptions by Deemetrius Masuka.
The other Tier 1 senior semifinal saw the defending champion St. Thomas More Knights down the Cathedral Gaels, 60-7.
Source: Marnie Jadon