Gladiators dump Argos


Sudbury Gladiators head coach Brent Richer was looking for his team to answer the challenge of being better against the Toronto Jr. Argonauts on the road after a bitter loss last week to Twin Cities.

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The Gladiators answered the challenge and then some as they took down the Jr. Argos 30-13 in Toronto on Saturday.

“We instituted some things they weren’t doing well over the last two weeks and the players executed everything perfectly,” Richer said. “As coaches, we’re happy to see we have a team that can respond in that way after a loss and a hard week of practice. There wasn’t a lot they did wrong.”

The Gladiators had all elements of their game working to perfection. The offence made big plays and scored on its chances. The defence showed it is menacing beasts by making several huge stops throughout the game and speciality teams got the ball rolling for the Gladiators with crafty play.

“Our new quarterback, Dan Poirier from Notre-Dame, started and he threw three touchdowns and no interceptions,” Richer said. “He had a lot of yards, too. He showed a lot of composure. He’s only 17, the youngest we can have on the team. He really stepped up to the occasion. The offence ran the ball well and the offensive line looked great. Our defence made some big stands and forced some fumbles. Our speciality teams got everything started for us when Josh Haslam kicked a 60-yard punt through the back of the end zone for a 1-0 lead. Everything was firing on Saturday.”

Richer is really impressed with the team’s defence, especially since the first three games have been on the road. Last year, after four road games, the Gladiators had allowed 95 points against. This season through the first three games, they have allowed just 40 points.

“They’re a stubborn group and I like it,” Richer said.

The Gladiators have one more road game to go, this Saturday, as they head south to take on the Hamilton Wentworth Panthers. The Gladiators will then be home for four straight games at Queen’s Athletic Field, something they’re looking forward to.

“It will be home sweet home soon,” Richer said. “Our next road game is big. It’s important to win on the road because we have usually been good at home. If we can come home next week with a 3-1 road record, we’re going to be in a position to try and earn a home playoff game.”

In OFC Junior Varsity Tier I action, the Sudbury Jr. Gladiators fell 56-0 to the Hamilton Wentworth Panthers on Saturday on the road.

“We came off the bus flat again,” head coach Sam Cuomo said. “We thought we had an opportunity against this team as they lost last week. They were pumped up and ready to play. We did improve a bit, but we just made more mistakes than usual.”

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Hamilton took a 28-0 lead into halftime and put up another 28 points in the second half to seal up the victory.

It wasn’t a complete write off for the Jr. Gladiators. The players kept up the fight until he final whistle and even did some things they had yet to do this season.

“We’re still growing as a team and added a few new players,” Cuomo said. “Our quarterback threw four or five receptions compared to last week when we had none. The quarterback made some runs and we had some opportunities to score, but we fumbled the ball. We didn’t get our momentum going. They made two mistakes the whole game. They did give us many turnovers to capitalize on.”

Sudbury has a strong idea of what they have to do in order to earn a better result against the next team it plays.

“Hamilton has speed,” Cuomo said. “My kids had their eyes opened up. They’re understanding what level of football we’re playing at and what level they have to get to. It was a wake-up call for them.”

Despite the 0-2 record to start, Cuomo isn’t down on his team. It’s the first season for the team and it’s about growing and learning the game at a higher level. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

“We’re here to teach them about the game,” he said. “It’s about building and encouraging them. It will take time. Next week, we’ll work on our speed. We’re up to 34 kids now and we’ll have 36 kids by next week. The numbers are growing and it helps out. The kids are excited to play.”

The Jr. Gladiators hit the road again to play Burlington this Saturday.

shaddow@thesudburystar.com

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