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Saturday, Jun. 23, 2018
Cardinals repeat with solid win over the Knights
by Randy Pascal

The St Charles College Cardinals football team has the look of a squad with some unfinished business.

That fact was not lost on head coach Mike Fabiilli, as his lads continue to plow through local opposition, downing the Lo-Ellen Park Knights 28-6 Friday night and capturing their second consecutive city championship in the process.

The veteran-laden Cards ran the table this year, compiling eight straight victories while outscoring the adversaries 266-56. "These guys were really focused this year, a lot of them wanted to win it again," noted Fabiilli.

"We lost a few players (from last year), but a lot of guys came back, and we had some quality players come up from the junior program. These guys had a mission, right from the get-go."

St Charles wasted little time asserting their dominance in the final, as Matt Bell hauled in a one yard pass from Nathan Rivet at 8:44 of the first quarter, and Bankamina "Djuwa" N'Galamulume doubled the lead, bursting straight up the middle and slowing down 65 yards later as he crossed the goal with 5:54 to play in the half.

By the time that Rivet threw his second touchdown pass of the game, a 62 yard strike to Gage Louis some four minutes later, the outcome was all but assured. "We always want to start off quickly - any team would want that," said Fabiilli.

"We've had some awesome practices the past few weeks. You could sense that these boys really wanted to win." That said, the Cardinals had suffered a heart-breaking playoff loss or two over the course of the past couple of decades, and Fabiilli knew better than to take anything for granted.

"We always worry about their ground game, and we were concerned about us not playing well," he acknowledged. "There were a few games this year where we made mistakes, turnovers and stuff like that. We really focused on not making mistakes."

"Lo-Ellen is always a quality opponent," Fabiilli continued. "We knew we needed an error-free game." The Cardinals added their final major of the game, a 23 yard TD run by N'Galalumule midway through quarter three, with the Knights breaking the goose-egg in the fourth, courtesy of a six point score from Noah Skuce.

The victory allows St Charles a second crack at the Superior Heights Steelhawks from Sault Ste Marie, NOSSA semi-final winners on Saturday, downing the West Ferris Trojans 34-22.

The Steelhawks beat the Cardinals 42-14 in the NOSSA semi-finals last November, completing their journey to OFSAA with a 48-21 triumph over the Widdifield Wildcats.

"We turned the ball over three times in the second half last year," recalled Fabiilli. "They got 21 points off that, I believe. You can't do that in football, it's too hard to come back from that."

"They are a very good team," Fabiilli continued, having made the trek to the Lock City on Saturday for a first-hand viewing of the Steelhawks-Trojans matchup. "It's going to be a tough game for us."

"We're going to have to be well prepared, have a good week of practice, work hard and see what happens. They're an awesome team." St Charles will face Superior Heights Saturday (November 12th) at 1:00 p.m. in Sault Ste Marie.

The Saultites will be looking for a gridiron sweep, after the Korah Colts claimed the NOSSA junior crown with a 43-15 win over the St Benedict Bears. A 54 yard pass and run from Colts' quarterback Jordan Robinson-Wright to running back Caleb Patteri just before halftime proved to be the turning point, breaking open what was a 15-15 game at the time.

St Benedict quarterback Eric Huneault scored on a two yard run and also found Ben Larson in the end zone with a 17 yard pass, while Giovanni Mastroianni converted both scores and added a single on a missed 23 yard field goal attempt.

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