The Lakeshore atom AAA Cougars won the provincial championship game held Saturday at Keith Ewenson Park in LaSalle 22-8 against the St. Bruno Barons. The Cougars finish off a perfect season (14-0) with the win.
"It went great today. It's what we were planning for all season. A season ago, we got these guys together. We had a really young team. We had a rough start, we lost a few games. But the boys jelled and we turned the corner. Twelve of those players came back this season so we started with a real core of guys that we could build on what we did last year right away. They made it through as a team and we went undefeated this year," said Cougars' head coach Jonathan Waind.
Running back James Malatesta scored two touchdowns in the first half, giving his team a 16-0 lead up until the fourth quarter when the Barons suddenly awoke. On a third down, quarterback Xavier Chabot, who won the MVP award for his team, ran 26 yards to Lakeshore's 37-yard line. Two plays later, he ran for 10 yards while the Cougars took an anti-sportsmanship 10-yard penalty. Chabot passed to David Côté on the next play for the major.
After the convert, St. Bruno was back in the game at 16-8. The celebration was short lived. Nicolas Pavan first returned St. Bruno's kickoff to the Barons' 52-yard line before Malatesta evaded several defenders on the next play to run the ball in for the touchdown. At 22-8, the Cougars would not look back. With 203 yards of gains and three touchdowns, Malatesta was chosen the MVP for Lakeshore.
"My team blocked well. They were picking up all the blitz and they certainly helped our team win. It feels good to win a championship," he said after the game.
St. Bruno's head coach Éric Langlois was proud of his squad despite the defeat.
"Things went well in the circumstances. My guys were a little more nervous than usual. That showed in our execution which was less good than what we were used to. But they gave it their all, they didn't give up and I'm really proud of them," he said.