By Larry Moko
The St. Thomas More Knights put 40 points on the scoreboard in the first half en route to victory at the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference championship football game Wednesday.
Playing at home, the Knights ultimately cruised to a 47-21 decision over Burlington’s previously undefeated Nelson Lords.
Both teams advance to the OFSAA Festival Series. More will play a yet to be determined South Western Ontario opponent on Wednesday in the Golden Horseshoe Bowl, while Nelson takes on Brantford’s Assumption Lions Tuesday in the Independent Bowl. Kickoff for each of those contests at McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium is 1 p.m.
“We prepared well and the boys executed their assignments,” More coach Claudio Silvestri said. “We were tremendous in all areas.”
The Knights marched down the field on their opening drive to score — the first of three touchdown runs by Josh Munoz. He punched it in from five, six and 10 yards, respectively.
Jawaun Smith burst through the middle for a 45-yard TD run and More’s other rushing touchdown was from one yard by Sito Berrio.
Through the air, quarterback Evan Hillock also connected with wide receiver Janeil Gordon on a well-executed deep pass for a 65-yard score.
Kicker Anthony Venerri chipped in with a 25-yard field goal and six conversions.
The Lords lone touchdown of the opening half was by way of Liam Keary’s 90-yard kick return.
Nelson quarterback Keagan Hall capped the scoring with a pair of late touchdown passes to Jackson Cooling (40 yards) and James Priestner (20 yards).
“We’re balanced,” Silvestri said of More’s strengths. “Our heart and soul has always been defence, but we have a big physical offence that can pound the ball. We also have a strong passing attack.”
Silvestri said Nelson features a “star studded” offence and More did well to hold them in check.
“It’s been a great year,” More defensive end/linebacker Riley MacLeod said. “On our defence, just about everybody played on the team last year. We’ve been coming together better and better.
Silvestri said MacLeod is known to his teammates as “Thor” because of his hair and muscular stature.
“Riley is just a motor,” the veteran More coach said. “Last year he was a starter for us on defence at 180. He worked incredibly hard during the off season and probably put on 25 pounds. He committed to the weight room. He has raised a lot of eyebrows.”
MacLeod also sees occasional action on offence as a second tight and as a special teams player.
St. Thomas More went 6-0 during the 2019 regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs to capture the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league title for a fourth consecutive year.
And next week the Knights will by vying for a fifth-consecutive OFSAA Bowl championship.
Source: Marnie Jadon