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The Westgate Tigers weren’t used to losing.
Their senior team won all but once last season, falling in the final to Sir Winston Churchill. The junior team ran the table and took home the championship.
But this season, on a rainy Friday afternoon at Fort William Stadium, the senior Tigers stood at a crossroads, with no wins in two outings this season.
They turned to their ground game to turn things around in a hurry.
They weren’t disappointed with the results.
Caleb White blasted touchdown runs through the gap three times in a four-minute, first quarter span and Cody Sheedy took it from there.
Sheedy, who’s missed most of the season with an injury, carried the ball seven times and scored twice, as Westgate built a 40-0 lead by halftime, then took their foot off the gas in a scoreless second half.
Tucker Arnold also scored for the Tigers, cruising 16 yards for the major in the final two minutes of the second quarter.
Westgate coach Mike McNally said it’s taken his squad a couple of weeks to come around.
“We’re a young team. We’ve got lots of Grade 11s stepping up into starting roles, but I think we played some tough teams at the beginning,” McNally said.
“Some of these guys got a wake-up call to senior football. And we finally fixed our mental game. That’s cost us both our first two losses there. We had a lot of mental mistakes, late hits on the quarterback, face masks, etc. That’s aggressive plays, but at the wrong time and we kind of cleaned that up.”
Losing wasn’t something White, who scored from one yard out at 3:10 of the opening quarter, from 11 yards at 5:17 and from 13 yards at 7:14, wanted to get used to any time soon.
“We got off to kind of a slow start. Things kind of took awhile to come together, but they came together this game. We had a good game, played hard and things turned out the way they should – and the way they’re going to now,” the Grade 11 student said.
Things just didn’t go the Gryphons way.
After taking a 7-0 lead on White’s first score, the Tigers recovered the kick-off after it ricocheted in pinball-like fashion off a crowd of Superior Collegiate players, the ball falling into Dustin Schmidt’s lap. Schmidt was there to recover Justin Duhaime’s kick-off return fumble following White’s second major, a mistake Westgate once again turned into points.
On the day the Tigers (1-2) outgunned the Gryphons, gaining 267 total yards to just 101 for Superior Collegiate, which fell to 0-3.
White finished with 39 yards rushing, Sheedy with a game-high 66 and Arnold ran for another 59. Superior quarterback Thomas Stadey had 62 yards on the ground, but was 0-for-8 passing with a pair of interceptions.
In other senior boys action:
Churchill 24, St. Ignatius 24: Jarred White and Allan Chen led a furious second-half comeback as the Churchill Trojans fought to earn the tie. White, who threw for 291 yards, hit Jordan Jonasson on a 15-yard strike two minutes into the half. Kuwah Sha nailed a 16-yard field goal a couple minutes later, then with less than two minutes to go, Chen charged in from three yards out, erasing what had been a 17-point halftime deficit. St. Ignatius QB Robert Pavletic hit Miles Miceli for a 69-yard score early in the second, then bested that with a 75-yard TD throw to Liam Fors at the 8:10 mark. Churchill is now 2-0-1. The Falcons are 1-1-1.
St. Patrick 15, Hammarskjold 13: Jordan LeBlanc hit an eight-yard field goal with 58 seconds left to secure the win for the Saints. Kyle Mercier ran for 76 yards and a major and LeBlanc connected with Jake McKee on a 10-yard score, both coming in the second quarter. Zander Hasell had a one-yard run in the fourth for the Vikings lone TD. Mitchell Hannusch hit a pair of field goals, including a 33-yarder in the fourth that put Hammarskjold on top 13-12.
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