GOTW ON: Civil War brewing between CFC50 No. 8 A. B. Lucas and No. 25 South

It’s time for another Civil War in London as the CFC50 No. 8 A. B. Lucas Vikings take on their dreaded rivals the CFC50 No. 25 South Lions.

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There’s no shortage of history between these programs, and each have taken turns in recent years planting their flag in the ground. The pair have met in the playoffs six years in a row, including four straight appearances in the TVDSB finals with split results. In that time period, South made two trips to OFSAA with a victory over McKinnon Park in 2016, while A. B. Lucas are looking to return for the first time since 2014 when they defeated Paul Dwyer. A dance at the Festival is never guaranteed with programs like CFC50 Catholic Central lurking on the other side of the city, but at this point in history it’s safe to assume that Lucas and South will meet again with everything on the line in November.

Playoffs or not, you can always expect a hard-hitting affair when these two meet on the field, and South linebacker Josh Gillam is looking forward to the challenge,

“The top three points of emphasis we’re focusing on is discipline, persistence and physicality. We know they are a good team which means we’ll have to bring our A game. We’re gonna play our game as disciplined as possible and out physical them at the point of attack all game long.

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“Anyone watching our team should expect to see effort and toughness. Our program thrives on being more physical and hardworking then anyone we’re playing against. We have a rich history of winning championships which carries over into every season.”

The Lions’ defence has dominated allowing no more than 15 points during their 4-0 start, but they’ve yet to face an offence that can pile up points like the Vikings. They’re coming off back-to-back 41 point performances, and have scored at least 35 points during their four victories, making Lucas the highest scoring team in the TVDSB. It all starts with Matt Jaquith calling the signals at quarterback, who has plenty of weapons at his disposal including receivers Sam Spoelstra, Will Adams and Patrick Murphy, while Caleb Roberts provides the big play ability in the backfield. One of the main reasons for their success is a veteran offensive line led by CFC100 Erik Andersen and Mason Parmley, who should both be clearing holes at the next level upon graduation.

Andersen decided to return for moments like this, and is hoping he can provide the leadership required to help the Vikings return to OFSAA,

“We have a great group of guys again this season and we have lots of talent. As for my personal goals this season, I am just looking to do whatever is needed in order to help the team succeed at the end of the day.”

Although they haven’t scored as many points as their rivals, the Lions have had zero issues finding the end zone scoring 123 points in their four contests. It all starts in the backfield with running back L.J. Dyer, who leads the way with ten touchdowns behind an impressive offensive line. Jacob Saunders took over the quarterbacking duties after CFC100 Ethan Martin moved onto Queen’s this year, but somethings never change with Saunders also returning punts just like Martin during his days with the Lions. He’s done a great job transitioning from playing defensive back and receiver last season, and his athleticism provides another dynamic the Vikings defence will need to worry about with receiver Caleb Dekker and two-way prospect Felipe Villaquiran becoming familiar targets.

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Dyer understands he’s going to draw a lot of attention no matter how much talent surrounds him, and says he’ll be ready when his number gets called,

“The top 3 point are just being physical, special teams, and stopping their offence. Our style a football is a hard nose power football team, and a heavy box of defence. Some personal goals I’ve set for this season is to just be better every week, and improve as a team – so far it’s working.”

In order to stop the Vikings offence, they’ll need to have big games out of future Western Mustangs CFC100 Scott Nichols, and the previously mentioned Gillam. You should expect to see those two roaming around the backfield all afternoon, while Trent Ingram and Villaquiran will need to provide some lockdown coverage in the secondary if they want Jaquith to feel the heat from the front seven.

A winning tradition can either be seen as a burden or blessing by the current crop of prospects, but Gillam takes a ton of pride in creating a winning atmosphere around South,

“This season I have set my goals very high, not just for myself but for the team. We have rich history of winning and this year I plan on continuing our success by leading my team to another championship.”

Kickoff is set for 11:30am on Friday morning at South.

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