By Larry Moko
The Cardinal Newman Cardinals put it all together in the second half as they pulled away from the Bishop Ryan Celtics in their Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior high school playoff football game Monday.
Newman held a slim 14-12 lead at the intermission of the semifinal but gained some breathing room en route to a 31-12 decision.
“We all went into the change room and had a big talk with our head coach (Lino Battilana),” Cardinals running back/defensive end Calvin Kelly said. “That’s what brought us together. We just had to go out there and give it our all.”
Kelly led the charge, scoring three touchdowns. Two were rushes of about 10 yards each and the other was a 30-yard pass reception.
Quarterback Daniel Eldridge also connected with Nate Cusimano for a touchdown through the air for second-place Newman (5-1).
Kicker Vince Triumbari contributed four converts and a 32-yard field goal.
The third-place Celtics (4-2) scored on a 70-yard kickoff return by Anthony Ventura and a one-yard quarterback sneak by Sebastian Masotti.
“When it was 14-12 we thought we were in the game,” Celtics coach Darren Maludzinski said.
“But our offence just couldn’t get going. We had a few good run plays but we couldn’t put the ball in the air.”
According to the Bishop Ryan coach, Kelly and Eldridge were the key performers for Newman.
“(Kelly) ran real hard,” Maludzinski said. “He’s a solid player. Their quarterback had some good reads and was able to combat some of our blitzes.”
The Cardinals also won the league meeting against the Celtics – 43-14.
Newman and the defending champion St. Thomas More Knights will vie for the league’s Tier 1 title on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Tim Hortons Field. First-place More (6-0) won its semifinal, 47-0, over the fourth-place Cathedral Gaels (2-4).
In their 2018 regular-season contest, the Knights defeated the Cardinals, 22-10.
Source: Marnie Jadon