THUNDER BAY – The St. Ignatius Falcons don’t stay down for long.
Coming off a championship season a year ago, the senior football squad’s dreams of an undefeated follow-up came crashing to a halt last weekend against the Hammarskjold Vikings.
They weren’t about to let that happen again.
Quarterback Jordan Maki on Friday connected on a pair of touchdown strikes to receiver Noah Penfold, leading the Falcons back into the win column, the 27-2 win coming at the expense of the Westgate Tigers, who slipped to 1-1 with the defeat.
“We came off a bad loss against Hamm and we had a fire under us. We worked really hard this week in practice and this is the outcome,” said Maki, who also hit Nick D’Angelo on a 49-yard touchdown toss for the game’s first score, the play coming with fewer than three minutes to go in the half.
“We really worked hard for this win.”
Penfold said it was a chance to prove something to the league that the Falcons aren’t ready to give up the No. 1 seed.
“It motivated us to win, to come back.”
It was an all-around performance, always a good sign, Penfold added.
“Our passing game was good. Our running game was good all together and our defence really did a good job with the hits and all that. We need to work on our punt recovery and stuff like that, but other than that we did a good job.”
Hammarskjold’s only points came on a third-quarter safety, Falcons coach Tyler Dennis opting to have punter Leonardia Pernia back out of the end zone, the St. Ignatius offence backed up deep in its own end an only up by a 14-0 count.
“That was my decision,” Dennis told his troops, gathered in a post-game huddle just inside the Fort William Stadium track.
The Tigers had pinned St. Ignatius deep after Cole Arnold blocked a punt, recovering it on the Falcons 12. But the drive went nowhere, Darian Fuchs turning the ball over on downs after coming up two yards short on a third-and-long run.
A little later Anthony Valente appeared to have scored on a 100-yard punt return for St. Ignatius, but the play was called back on an illegal block.
It didn’t matter in the end.
The Falcons, who usually opt for a heavy dose of Nic Cull to move the ball up and down the turf, instead opened with a number of throws, limiting Cull’s touches in the early going.
It didn’t stop the star back from contributing a three-yard touchdown run 17 seconds into the fourth, the final points of the contest.
Hammarskjold 33, St. Patrick 0: Hayden Florindo had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown and Nolan Florindo scored on a 53-yard pass from Gavin Perkins to lead the Vikings to the shutout win. Caleb Perzan also ran one in from four yards out and added a second major on an eight-yard run in the fourth. Devon Hoier booted a pair of field goals in the victory. Cooper Pytyck was the player of the game for the Saints.