Mustangs capture championship

Vincent Ball

By Vincent Ball, Brantford Expositor

The Brantford Collegiate Institute Mustangs won the battle of the underdogs to capture the Brant County Senior Boys’ Football championship on Saturday.
The Mustangs defeated the Assumption College Lions 10-8 in a defensive battle that wasn’t decided until the horn finally sounded signalling the end of the game.
“I love this game, I love my players and I’m so proud of them and what they were able to accomplish this season,” an exuberant Jordan Charter, head coach of the Mustangs, said following the game. “We had to beat a really good team to get here and we had to beat a good physical and athletic team today.
“We’ve come a long way this season and it feels great to have won today.”
The Mustangs finished the regular season in fifth place with a 1-4 record and had to take on the undefeated St. John’s Green Eagles to earn a spot in the championship game. The Assumption College Lions meanwhile, finished the regular season in third place with a 3-2 record and had to beat a strong North Park Trojans team make it to the championship game played at Kiwanis Field.
The Lions got off to a good start, moving the ball well in the opening minutes of the championship game, but were forced to punt after the Mustangs defence dug in hard to prevent them from scoring. BCI, however, couldn’t muster much offence and was forced to punt from deep in their own end.
Following a bad snap on the punt, the Lions had good field position but, again, the Mustangs defence came up big to keep the score board clean after four minutes.
The BCI offence picked up some steam late in the first quarter when quarterback Josh Downy connected with Ben McAlpine for a pass, catch and run that moved the Mustangs deep into Lions territory.
A couple of plays later, the Mustangs were on the scoreboard after Downy ran the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. The convert was good and BCI led 7-0.
But the defensive battle continued in the second and third quarter. Although the offence on both teams showed signs of generating some momentum, the defence on both teams held fast.
The defensive battle continued in the second quarter with the only scoring taking place when Assumption punted the ball into the Mustangs’ end zone. The ball went out of bounds and the Lions had their first point of the game.
Neither team could muster much offence in the third quarter and the final quarter started with the Lions’ trailing 7-1.
The offence for both teams finally came to life in the fourth quarter with Assumption striking first.
Adrian Popielec-Henry, who has been a scoring threat for Assumption all game, finally broke through on a lengthy run for a touchdown, drawing the teams even at 7-7. The convert was good and the Lions had their first lead of the game 8-7.
But the Mustangs weren’t done yet.
Downy connected with McAlpine again for a long pass, catch and run. The catch and the BCI drive got them within field goal range. Josh Macklin kicked a field goal and the Mustangs had a 10-8 lead with less than five minutes left.
The Lions moved the ball down the field but a last-second field goal was unsuccessful and the Mustangs had the win.
“We put a lot of work in this past week to get prepared for this game,” said McAlpine, who had an outstanding game on defence and on offence. “We worked really hard to get here.
“We all stuck together and all of that hard work paid off.”
In addition to a couple of big catches on offence, McAlpine had a big defensive play when he knocked down an ASC pass that could have resulted in a touchdown for the Lions.
Popielec-Henry was disappointed with the loss.
“We gave it everything we had,” he said. “I really believed that we were going to win today.”
But, he added, the Lions had a good season and really came together as a team.
“This was the best sports season I’ve ever had. I really want to thank the coaches for all of their hard work and for making this a great season.”