For the second year in a row, the Holy Cross Crusaders from Kingston have won the Eastern Bowl at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association football festival.
On Tuesday at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton, the Crusaders came back from a half-time deficit of 18-7. They rallied to beat the Richview Collegiate Saints from Etobicoke 20-18.
“Were still riding on cloud nine,” said Crusaders middle linebacker Mitchell Keuhl.
The graduating senior was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“It’s unbelievable to win it two years in a row,” continued Keuhl.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game. Richview took it to us in the first half, but the boys regrouped and showed tremendous character in the come-from-behind victory.
“We played Holy Cross football in the second half and outscored them 13-0.
Coached by former Queen’s University Gaels, Tim Pendergast and Pat Corbin, the Crusaders road to the Eastern Bowl wasn’t an easy one.
They defeated the Frontenac Falcons 18-15 to win the Kingston-area championship.
The green and white then proceeded to capture the Eastern Ontario title with playoff wins over the Arnprior Rapids 7-3 , as well as the St.Joseph’s Wildcats from Cornwall, 35-7.
“Our coaches deserve this win as much as we do,” said Crusaders wide receiver Liam Silverson.
One of many graduating seniors, Silverson couldn’t say enough about the program he’s been a part of for five years.
“Our coaches are so supportive and knowledgeable,” continued Silverson, who hopes to play next season at Queen’s.
“Coach Pendergast and Corbin are Vanier Cup champions. How many high school teams can say that? Every coach on our team is responsible for our success. It takes 55 guys working together and yesterday everybody pulled together to get the job done.”
Keuhl, who hasn’t decided on his football future, says this year’s team was truly special.
“The guys have been working hard for two and half months,” Keuhl said. “We love practicing and we love playing. My high school football career is now complete.
“Two straight OFSAA championships. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Last year in Ottawa, the Crusaders beat the Thomas A. Stewart Griffins from Peterborough 25-8.