#CFCOVFL PREVIEW: JV Myers Riders prepare for powerhouse Panthers

After five games, the 2015 Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL) season has yet to provide any serious challenges for the Ottawa Myers Riders JV.

The Myers Riders remain undefeated with a 5-0 record, compiling a collective scoreline of 220-90. On Saturday, the team will get a chance to keep the winning streak alive against the Cumberland Panthers (5-1).

The Panthers should prove to be the Myers Riders’ biggest obstacle so far this season. The Panthers have amassed a collective scoreline of 288-46, which translates to an average score of 48-8 per game. Like the Myers Riders, the Panthers have not had any problems scoring. Unlike the Myers Riders, the Panthers rely on a balanced approach to offence.

Alexander Lawrie leads the Panthers’ offence from the quarterback position. He has produced 10 touchdowns, throwing for a total of 557 yards. Lawrie has been an accurate and dependable passer, completing 51 per cent of his throws.

The Panthers have the advantage of relying on many different players to support their running game. Six Panthers have recorded at least five carries for Cumberland this season, which has helped keep opposing defences off guard.

Off the ground and into the air, running back Willy Dimbongi has made an unlikely accession into being the Panthers’ best receiver. He has caught 5 touchdown passes, averaging 17.4 yards per reception.

On the other side of the field, offence will also be the name of the game.

“Offensively, we are a bit stronger,” Myers Riders Head Coach Matt Kassner says. “Defensively, we have a ways ago, but our offence should be able to carry us.”

The Myers Riders boast the league’s best running game, led by second-year running back and OPC MVP Jean-Paul Cimankinda. The 5-11, 15-year-old has rushed for 1405 yards in six games, putting him atop of the list of the league’s best running backs.

“I am pretty big for my age,” Cimankinda says. “I have the speed and the vision to read the defence and act.”

Cimankinda has already scored 19 touchdowns on 101 carries for his team. He is expecting to do much of the same against the Panthers.

“The offensive line has been very good this year,” Cimankinda says. “They are the ones making plays. It is because of them that we can make runs, pass the ball and win games.”

Going into the game, Kassner says his team is going to have to beat powerhouses like the Panthers if they want to be crowned champions at the end of the season.

“Our coaching staff has had a lot of heartbreak,” Kassner said prior to the season. “We have gotten to the final level and tasted success, but not the ultimate goal. We are trying to get over the hump to take the next step.”

The Cumberland Panthers JV play visitor to the Ottawa Myers Riders JV at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 4 at Millennium Field. 

 

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