In a game that was much closer than the final score indicated, the visiting Lakeshore Catholic Gators defeated the Denis Morris Reds 28-21 Friday in Niagara Catholic Athletic Association senior football quarter-final action.
Trailing 14-13 late in the fourth quarter, the Gators took advantage of a botched punt to take possession on the Reds’ 25-yard line. It took three plays before Brody Crawford ran it in from six yards out to give the Gators a 19-14 lead.
Following a successful two-point convert on a run by Crawford, the Reds fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Eric Ruigrok made them pay with a 39-yard TD run. A late TD by the Reds left them 24.5 seconds to create a miracle but the Gators swallowed up a short kickoff and the game was over.
“We played a very undisciplined game between mistakes and penalties and we couldn’t get things going,” Reds head coach Rob Battista said. “But the kids fought to the end.”
Looking ahead to next season, Battista sees a lot of positives.
“We will work to improve and we’ve had some nice Grade 10s that have come up at the end of the year,” he said. “We’re excited for next year.”
The Gators were excited Friday after winning their first playoff games in three years.
“We talked about it all week,” Gators head coach Bernie Tessier said. “We’ve taken our lumps the last couple of seasons, but we definitely put the time in this season and the football course helped.
“We are starting to see that come to fruition now.”
As far back as the summer, Tessier was predicting a better season by his squad.