NSSAFFL Playoffs: Flames engulf Phoenix to end championship streak

NSSAFFL: Flames & Cheetahs headed for Tier 1 Championship Final showdown on Sunday

There will be a new champion in Tier 1 of the Nova Scotia Student Athletic Federation Football League (NSSAFFL).

On Saturday, the Sir John A MacDonald Flames finally got the redemption they had been seeking for many years.  The Flames ousted defending provincial champions Citadel Phoenix 31-17.

For many years, the Flames main obstacle has been the Phoenix.

The Flames came ever so close to winning their first NSSAFFL Tier 1 Championship Title against the Phoenix one year ago.  The Flames had the Phoenix on the ropes and with a 13-0 lead going into halftime; the team was well on their way to victory.

However, a second half resurgence from the Phoenix and a successful field goal attempt within the last minute denied the Flames that chance to hoist the championship banner.

This past weekend, the Flames ensured the same fate would not happen once again against the Phoenix.

It was a close game until the fourth quarter of the game, when the Flames capitalized on opportunity.

“The game was back and forth and tied up 17-17 in the fourth quarter,” explained Phoenix Co- Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Jeff Lawley.  “Sir John A created two timely turnovers that broke the stalemate.”

Nate Rostek was unstoppable in the second half as he scored three touchdowns to lead the Flames – a 15 yard rushing major in the third quarter as well as 55 yard and 5 yard majors in the fourth quarter. The Flames standout rushed for 87 yards on 11 carries and amassed 124 receiving yards on four catches in the semifinal.

Flames pivot Lorenz MacDonald had 17 completions in 21 attempts for 292 passing yards and four interceptions.  Chandler Tufts chipped in with 81 receiving yards on five catches.

Defensively, Mitch James registered seven tackles while Rostek and Robie Holland added six tackles.  Additionally, Jake Sherwood caught an interception late in the fourth quarter while Rostek, Holland and Zack Leger each had a fumble recovery.

“Our defense was the difference maker in this game as they controlled the line of scrimmage led by Donovan Blue, Zack Leger, Mitch Janes, Robie Holland and Nate Rostek,” assessed Flames Head Coach Steve Majury after the semifinal victory.  “Offensively, we moved the ball effectively and put points on the board, led by Nate Rostek who was simply tremendous on every snap and by Lorenz MacDonald and Chandler Tufts.”

“We turned the ball over too frequently, but again our defensive effort was exceptional to limit the damage.”

With the Flames victory, the Phoenix’ consecutive championship streak ends at five titles. While the Flames savoured this win, the team acknowledged the challenge put forth by the Phoenix and have the upmost respect for their rivals.

“We played a very physical football game against an excellent football team,” said Majury.  “Citadel gave us all we could handle and played a hard fought football game.”

“We have tremendous respect for the Phoenix players and their excellent coaching staff and would like to note their class post game in wishing us well.”

As for the Phoenix, quarterback Byron Kavanagh connected with Scott Baigent for a 10 yard touchdown.   Kavanagh accumulated 110 rushing yards while Baigent had 90 rushing yards in the game.

On defense, Greg Herritt and Nate Adams each caught two interceptions.  CFC TOP 100 defensive lineman Shaun Robinson stripped the ball once and also had a fumble recovery.

The Phoenix ended their season after enduring a rocky roller coaster ride this fall.  The Phoenix’ 46 consecutive winning game streak was snapped earlier this season by CFC TOP 50 squad Charles P Allen Cheetahs.  Consequently, the Phoenix ended up with a 7-1 record good for second in the Nova Division.

As this is an abnormally premature exit from the playoffs for the Phoenix, the team had nothing but warm wishes for the Flames as the team advances to the Tier 1 Championship Final.

“Another chapter in the rivalry between these two great teams was written on Saturday,” expressed Lawley.  “Sir John A is a terrific team and was the better team on this day.”

“We wish them all the best in the Championship Final.”

The Flames, who was first place in the Scotia Division with a 7-1 record, will now battle CFC TOP 50 Charles P Allen Cheetahs on Sunday November 17th for the Tier 1 Championship Title.  Kickoff is 1:00pm at CPA.

Here are results from the other postseason games in the NSSAFFL:

CFC#33 CHARLES P ALLEN CHEETAHS 67, HORTON GRIFFINS 0:

Under Friday Night Lights, Taylor MacDonald was on an offensive tear as the CFC#33 Charles P Allen Cheetahs trounced Horton Griffins 67-0 to punch their ticket to the Tier 1 Championship Final.

MacDonald tallied four majors, including a 72 yard punt return score, as well as amassing 154 rushing yards on seven carries.

Quarterback Sean Muir was perfect on this day as he completed all seven attempts and connected with Greg Hutchins for a touchdown.

Will Chamberlain (100 rushing yards on four carries) and Aidan Majury (139 rushing yards on 17 carries) and Jay Hachey each tallied majors. Hutchins added two field goals.

Defensively, Jesse Boudreau and Brad Bevan each registered five tackles.  Hachey added four tackles and had a fumble recovery in the game.

The Cheetahs will now host Sir John A MacDonald Flames for the Tier 1 Championship Title on Sunday November 17th at 1:00pm.

TIER 2 SEMIFINALS:

PRINCE ANDREW PANTHERS 29, AUBURN DRIVE EAGLES 6:

Nate Skeete scored two touchdowns as the Prince Andrew Panthers advanced to the Tier 2 Championship Finals with a 29-6 victory over Auburn Drive Panthers.

Spencer Wiechert and Jake Moore each tallied majors while Matt Kelvey was successful on three conversion attempts.

As for the Panthers defense, Ben Deturbide led the way with five tackles, including two for a loss. Wiechert and Mohamed Jalil also chipped in with many tackles during the semifinal battle.  Terrence Brooks and Robert Riley each recorded a sack while Noah Bowes forced a safety.

The Panthers will now battle Halifax West Warriors for the Tier 2 championship this upcoming week.

HALIFAX WEST WARRIORS 25, JL ILSLEY JUDGES 20:

In a rematch of the 2012 Tier 2 Championship final, Javon Parris rushed for 170 yards and scored a touchdown as the Halifax West Warriors edged the JL Ilsley Judges 25-20.

“It was a hard fought game that went back and forth,” commented Warriors Head Coach Dave Kelly after the semifinal win.  “Javon Parris ran the ball very hard tonight.”

“Jakeel Parris did a good job running the offense for us tonight.  We played a good team game tonight against a very good team and were able to pull it out in the end. Antonio Garcia did a great job kicking the ball for us tonight and in the end it was what won the game for us.”

For the Judges, pivot Ben LeBlanc had seven completions in 15 attempts for 89 yards, ran into the end zone for a seven yard score and connected with both Nathan Robinson and Liam Thompson for majors. Joe Stuckless racked up 137 rushing yards on 14 carries in the game.

“JL started slow 9-0 in first but Stuckless kept us in the game time and time again,” assessed Judges Head Coach Steve Saunders in his postgame comments.  “A few mistakes on defense and some untimely penalties were the difference.”

“We knew it would be a one score game, it just went the other way.”

The Warriors will try to win two consecutive Tier 2 championships when the team faces Prince Andrew Panthers in the final.

CONSOLATION FINAL:

COBEQUID EDUCATIONAL CENTRE COUGARS 31, CENTRAL KINGS GATORS 14:

Kyle Scott amassed 155 yards and tallied a major as the Cobequid Educational Centre Cougars defeated Central Kings Gators 31-14.

Shahno Ahmad, Ryan Strickland and Alex Hyde all scored touchdowns in the victory.  Nick Zscheille was successful on four conversion attempts and a 25 yard field goal attempt for the Cougars.

Defensively, Adam Kaulbach registered six tackles and recorded a sack to lead the way for the victors.  Aidan Roy added four tackles and two forced fumbles.  Patrick Smith chipped in with three tackles, recorded a sack and a forced fumble.

COLE HARBOUR CAVALIERS 60, SYDNEY ACADEMY WILDCATS 0:

No Player/Game Stats were available at press time.

Photo credit:  Mark Kays

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