By Larry Moko
St. Thomas More’s high school football team overcame a constant downpour and the previously undefeated Catholic Central Crusaders of London to win the 2018 Western Bowl.
The Knights raced to an early 16-point lead en route to a 26-9 decision over Catholic Central at Ottawa’s TD Place Stadium Monday.
With the result, More held on to its CanadaFootballChat.com ranking as the No. 1 high school team in the country. The Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association champion Crusaders came in ranked No. 2 nationally.
The game was one of nine Bowl contests scheduled from Nov. 26-28 that match the cream of the crop from various regions in the province.
Heavy rain fell throughout the More contest and, at the intermission, workers with snow shovels attempted to clear the field of large pools of water that accumulated.
Juwaun Smith sparked the Knights by running for a 52-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
Josiah Clarke’s close-in TD carry, a conceded safety touch along with Dante Medeiros’s convert and 52-yard single then gave the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference representatives a 16-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Catholic Central replied in the second quarter. It got a safety touch conceded by Medeiros along with a seven-yard touchdown run on a rollout by quarterback Ethan Chambers.
Trailing 16-9 at the half, the Crusaders ground attack started to roll. However, a fumble recovery by Kristian Stewart deep in the More end thwarted Catholic Central’s most dangerous drive of the third quarter.
The Knights padded their lead with an 11-yard field goal by Medeiros after Yousif Al-Khaldi recovered a fumble by the Crusaders punter at the Catholic Central 7-yard line.
Al-Khaldi was credited with 11 tackles, Munoz eight.
Defensive back Ethan Monoghan’s second interception of the contest — which included a 35-yard return — set up Josh Munoz for a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 49 seconds remaining.
Monoghan also recovered a fumble and had the difficult task of holding the ball on place kicks.
Linebacker Kobi Ofuokwu chipped in with an interception and a 26-yard return for More.
Offensively, More quarterback Evan Hillock completed 5 of 10 passes for 40 yards. Smith and Isaiah Parkinson combined for 153 yards on 22 carries.
Janiel Gordon of More returned four kicks for 79 yards.
It was the fourth consecutive Bowl victory for the Knights. They won the Golden Horseshoe Bowl in 2015 and ’17 along with the Eastern Bowl in 2016.
Overall, More has appeared in six Bowl games over the years and won six.
Head coach Claudio Silvestri’s Knights went 10-1 this season. Their only loss was in the preseason against an American opponent – the Chelsea Bulldogs of Michigan.
Source: Marnie Jadon