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Saturday, Jun. 23, 2018
No fairytale finish for Fabiilli and the Cards
by Randy Pascal

In the end, a fairytale finish for head coach Mike Fabiilli and the St Charles College Cardinals football team was just not meant to be.

A 65 yard punt return from Matt Bell, just before half time, narrowed the deficit to 14-7, but that was as close as the Sudbury city champs would come, dropping a 29-7 decision to the Superior Heights Steelhawks last Saturday in Sault Ste Marie.

The contest marked the last in a storied thirty year coaching career for Fabiilli - add another five years into the mix if you include his playing days at St Charles - as the football man through and through informed his team, two days earlier, of his intention to leave the coaching ranks at the end of this season.

He does so on a pretty good note, with a team that captured back to back SDSSAA banners, and kept things close with a quality opponent in the NOSSA final. "They were well balanced - they could run the ball, they could throw the ball," noted Fabiilli.

"Their quarterback is one heck of a quarterback. Hats off to Superior Heights - they're a very good team." A couple of key turnovers would prove costly to the Cards, who were looking to duplicate the feat of the 1969 NOSSA championship team at SCC, the last local crew to walk away with this honour.

Still, there were, as always, glimmers of optimism, including a very solid performance from stalwart St Charles running back Bankamina "Djuwa" N'Galamulume. "Djuwa was a workhorse for us," noted Fabiilli.

"He's got really good feet, he can see the holes, and he's really patient. When we block, it's zone reads, and he finds the creases and then just gets going. He still has to learn to run a little lower, but I think that will come with time."

Defensively, linebacker Andrew Kohut topped the tackle charts for the Cardinals, who graduate a number of key all-stars, including Tyler Michaud, Ethan Lamarche, Christopher Leon and Bell, among others.

No suprise that even a couple of days after his final loss, coach Fabiilli walks away with little to no regrets. "It would have been nice to win," he said with a laugh. "They were a better team, but when you play one game, sometimes you just never know."

That said, he leaves with an impressive legacy firmly entrenched. "I had a lot of passion for the game, I would wear it on my sleeve," said Fabiilli. "I always wanted to try and get the best out of the boys."

"I've been blessed with so many great kids. But for me, it was always about the passion and intensity. I think that's how I played the game, a lot of heart and a lot of passion."

Exactly the way that Mike Fabilli is sure to be remembered.

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