The North Shore Bantam AAA Lions handed the St. Laurent Spartans a crushing 41-0 defeat Friday night at St. Laurent field. The game started slow for the defending champions. After ten minutes of play, the score was still 0-0. At 12:08, the Spartans were forced to punt on a fourth down. The Lions' Terrance Dumont caught the kickoff at North Shore's 50-yard line before bringing the ball back at the Spartans' 37-yard line.
The Lions then took a holding penalty that brought them 15 yards back, but then quarterback Matthew Mannarino completed a 20-yard pass to James Tyrrell. On a third-and-three at the 30-yard line, the Lions' Adam Thaw was able to push through the Spartans' defence to obtain the first down by pushing through seven yards ahead. Then Mannarino threw a 22-yard pass to Raoul Baroudi who was tackled one yard away from the end zone in the dying seconds of the first quarter. Dumont ran for the touchdown on the next play to put the Lions ahead by six.
At the beginning of the second quarter, the Spartans took possession at their 30-yard line after the Lions' kickoff. On a first down, they reached the 43-yard line but that's as far as they would go on that possession. On a second-and-ten, the Lions' Anthony Ragusa sacked the quarterback. Then the Spartans got a 10-yard penalty on the next play. On a third down at their 25-yard line, quarterback Dylan Seinet tried to run for it but was tackled by the Lions' Shemar Dorset at 3:20.
Forced to punt, the Spartans went for the onside kick but the strategy backfired as the Lions' Joseph Picard caught the ball inside the Spartans' territory. Two plays later, Mannarino threw a long pass to Isaiah Atkins who caught it at the 30-yard line before running the rest of the distance for the touchdown. A little more than five minutes into the second quarter, the Lions were leading 13-0 after a successful conversion.
Later in the quarter, Justin White caught a St. Laurent kickoff and brought it back to the Spartans' 42-yard line. After a run to the 25-yard line, Thaw scored a touchdown two plays later. After the conversion, it was suddenly 20-0 with 3:59 left in the first half.
The Lions weren't finished punishing their adversaries. With 3:33 left in the second quarter, the Spartans' fumbled the ball at the 27-yard line, giving North Shore's offence a good scoring opportunity. Two plays later, running back Terrance Dumont ran to the 15-yard line.
On a second down with 12 yards to go, Mannarino threw a pass to Atkins who caught it in mid-air five yards away from the end zone before dodging a defender and running the ball in the end zone. Two minutes before half-time, the Lions had the lead 27-0. James Tyrrell and James Michel added touchdowns in the second half to complete the score.
Lions' head coach Terry Gaudreau said after the final whistle that the game gave him the opportunity to use some of his players that usually don't get much playing time.
"We have a lot of respect for St. Laurent, we know that they are a very-well coached team, we know that they are a young team. But playing them gave us an opportunity in the first half to play a lot of players who don't get as much playing time. We wanted to make sure that those players get more and more playing time going in to the tougher part of the season," he said.
As for Spartans' head coach Ted Karabatsos, he said he was expecting a tough encounter going into a game against the 2010 provincial champions.
"Things went pretty much as expected. This is the best bantam team ever and they're defending champions so they're the best team we've faced so far. We have to work on improving our execution and not taking offside penalties or fumbling the ball. But the effort is there. The young men are doing what they can," he said.