The North Shore Bantam Cheetahs won the provincial Coupe d’Or AA Saturday afternoon at Stade Hébert in St. Leonard by defeating the Boucherville Grizzlis 25-20. With this win, the Cheetahs completed their season with a record of 13-0.
Mark Atrill scored a touchdown in the first quarter for the Cheetahs putting them ahead by six. Boucherville retaliated ten minutes in the second quarter with a run from the one-yard line from Jeremie Senecal. Boucherville missed the convert as North Shore had beforehand and the score remained tied at six.
Late in the third quarter, the Grizzlis took possession at North Shore’s 39-yard line. Quarterback Mathieu Verreault, Vincent Marquis-Cartier and Felix Periard carried the ball to the two-yard line in four consecutive runs before Senecal punched through the defensive line for the touchdown at with 2:46 left in the quarter. The conversion kick put the Grizzlis ahead 13-6.
The Cheetahs’ offense sprung into action as soon as they got the ball back. AJ Chase caught a 20-yard pass from quarterback Styles Trudeau-Eatman with 40 seconds left in the third quarter. Because of a Boucherville penalty, the ball was moved 15 yards forward to the Grizzlis’ 35-yard line. On the next play, Trudeau-Eatman passed to Tore Johnson who caught the ball at the 18-yard line and Boucherville got called for another 15-yard penalty. Trudeau-Eatman just punched in through the Grizzlis’ defensive line on the next play from the three-yard line. North Shore went for the two-point convert to try and take the lead but failed. The Cheetahs remained one point behind at 13-12.
In the first minutes of the fourth quarter, Johnson with two runs totalling 73 yards put the Cheetahs ahead by six at 19-13 with 12:46 remaining in regulation. The Grizzlis came back with a touchdown three minutes later as Vincent Marquis-Cartier ran over 70 yards for the major putting his team ahead by one. The score was then 20-19 for Boucherville with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Johnson had a true “Rocket Richard” moment five minutes later as he carried two defenders on his back from the Grizzlis’ 12-yard line straight to the end zone for the major that put the Cheetahs ahead for good. North Shore resisted to Boucherville’s desperate attempts to retaliate in the five last minutes and the Cheetahs won the game 25-20.
As many of the Cheetahs’ games this season were blowout wins for North Shore, head coach Mike Diab was glad to have had a close game for the final.
“They came to play, we came to play. It is what we wanted: a challenge. This is the championship we wanted to win. Boucherville gave us good competition. Our boys dug deep and won. This was the biggest game of the year,” he said.
As for Grizzlis’ head coach Bernard Furlong, he felt proud of his players after the game.
“I am extremely proud of my players. We played a very good game. I had my hopes up until the very end. In a way, we beat ourselves. We took awful penalties at crucial moments of the game,” he said.