Mother Teresa Spartans proved a lot of people wrong winning Western Bowl

It was a game between two teams not many people expected would be playing here.

In the end it was London’s Mother Teresa Spartans who completed their magical run to a championship, defeating the Sarnia Northern Vikings 10-0 in the OFSAA AAA/AAAA Western Bowl yesterday at the Rogers Centre.

Like most things the Spartans have done this year, it didn’t come easy.

“Halfway through the season, no one gave us a shot,” said quarterback Dave Copp. “In the playoffs, no one gave us a shot. But we were great. All those people who didn’t believe in us . . . we’re OFSAA champions now.”

They met a team that despite its small size, refused to give up. The Vikings’ tallest and heaviest player is Mike Nicholson at 6-foot-1, 240 pounds.

Yet they upset Windsor Herman 4-3 to get to here and trailed Mother Teresa only 3-0 in the third quarter. It was startling considering the big number of points the Spartans have put up in their run through the playoffs.

The Spartans weren’t expected to get out of London but came together at the right time offensively and got solid play from their defence. It was the defence that won the game, holding the Vikings to 178 total yards.

The Spartans didn’t exactly roll up and down the field. The Vikings defence might have been undersized but was quick, stringing out the running game of Alex Iezzi and Tommy Marshall.

They have the capability of breaking a big run but the Vikings didn’t let that happen.

“To be honest with you, when you look at the lineup, you thought it was going to be easier than it was,” Copp said. “They were quick and they were tough. I had trouble getting my guys open.”

But the Spartans made it here because they came up with big plays at the right time.

Leading 3-0 on an Andros Agathos 12-yard field goal, the Spartans’ Tyler Duncan blocked a Colin Epps punt deep in the Northern end. It led to a Copp to Adam Sinclair touchdown pass.

With a stifling defence refusing to let the Vikings move the ball, it was too much for the Sarnians to overcome.

Agathos’ punting was a big key. He consistently gave his team good field position.

“I am so proud of these guys. They play so hard. They came and they played hard,” said Vikings head coach Craig Davies. “We had trouble moving the ball against the Mother Teresa offence. Their defence was better than our offence and I think that was the difference in the game. Hats off to them. They outplayed us and deserved to win.”

The Spartans defensive line controlled the Vikings with the big plays being made by defensive back Duncan and linebacker Chad Sorensen.

Sorensen was the focus of attention after the game as the mating dance of the university scouts and high school football player took place. Sorensen will return to Mother Teresa for another year.

“The defence carried this team on their back all season,” Sorensen said. “And the offence came along and started to play well.

“This was a fun game, a really good game to play in. (Sarnia) are small but they are tough. They play with a lot of heart.”

There was no greater symbol of that heart than the Vikings’ Ryan Charteris, who quarterbacked them for most of the game. He was also a linebacker.At 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, he took a pounding.

“He started as a guard for us last year. That tells you something about our size and his toughness,” Davies said.

It was a weary Charteris who emerged from the locker room.

“We gave it our all,” he said. “No one thought we would make it this far. Pretty much half the team didn’t think we’d make it past Windsor Herman. But we did and it was an amazing, awesome experience.”

It was the second Western Bowl win for the Spartans. They also won in 2007. A London school has won it five of the last six years.

“We knew as long as we got better each week, we had enough talent to win,” said Spartans coach Kevin Barnes. “It just took us a little bit of time to put that together. We just had to do a few of those small things to win the close games and towards the end of the year, we did those small things.”

Source: London Free Press

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