Chargers bring impressive Marymount streak to an end
by Randy Pascal
All good things, as they say, must come to an end.
The Marymount Regals girls flag football team would have preferred that their 27 game unbeaten string, extending back to 2014, not end in quite
such a heartbreaking fashion.
For the Confederation Chargers, however, any victory over the seven time defending city champs is cause to celebrate.
With less than five minutes to play, both of these SDSSAA juggernauts were on the verge of extending impressive statistical sequences. Deadlocked in a
scoreless draw, the Regals were looking like a good bet to bump the streak up to 28 games, all while the Chargers maintained their defensive excellence in
not having allowed a single point against this year.
But with 2:47 to play, Tricia Chisholm sailed a punt some 35 years or so, ten yards deep into the end zone, allowing Confederation to secure a
single point, blanking Marymount 1-0 Friday afternoon at the James Jerome Sports Complex.
"Our main goal was to flag her in the end zone, knowing we could get the one point," explained veteran Charger lineman Catherine Costello. Things
would turn out fine for the Valley crew, in the end, though not quite in the manner they expected, as the Regals punt returner lost control of the ball
just prior to reaching her own goal line.
Under flag football rules, any fumble is immediately ruled a dead ball. Given that it occured in the end zone, it was enough to provide Costello and her
teammates a well deserved victory.
"She was getting really close to getting out, so we figured just flag her," said Costello. "Getting that one point was kind of a surprise, because we
expected her to be out, but we were aware that we could get that point."
The sole scoring play of the contest ended a dramatic encounter that most of the those on hand surely predicted, and one that could easily replay itself
on Friday, November 3rd at 7:30 p.m., kickoff time for the city Division "A" final.
"Marymount is obviously really big competition for us," stated Costello. "We were expecting them to be good, but we were also expecting us to play as
well as we have been the entire season. We knew it was going to be hard, but we had faith that we could win. It could have gone either way."
The Chargers might have been even more confident if not for the loss of difference-making quarterback Madison Laberge, unavailable due to elite
hockey commitments over the next few weeks. On Friday, in fact, Laberge was in Canton, New York, home of the St Lawrence Saints NCAA women's
Division I hockey team to which the offensively-gifted local defenceman has verbally committed for the 2019-2020 campaign.
With that in mind, Chargers' coach Brad Smith was pulling out all stops, even if that meant adding defensive responsibilities to Costello,
a stalwart on the offensive line for the past four years.
"It's really different," said Costello after the game. "On offense, once the ball is set, you can't move. On defense, you can kind of play with where the
ball is moving, so you can move around, go wherever you want. Plus there is a lot more running involved. On offense, you can only go so far, whereas on
defence, you're running to get wherever the ball is."
By the sounds of it, Costello adjusted nicely, picking up her first few flag grabs of her time at Confederation, even if her post-flagging celebration
leaves a little to be desired. "I got two flags tonight," she noted with a beaming smile.
"There was no celebration dance, but I kind of put the flags up really aggressively and accidentally hit the girl in the face. I said sorry right after."
Just the kind of intensity that is expected when two of the top programs in the city go toe to toe.
Perhaps we can see it all again, at least one more time this year.
Flag Footnotes: Playoffs begin for both Division "A" and Division "B" flag football teams this week. The "B" quarter-finals will start
things off, with the Espanola Spartans and St Charles College Cardinals meeting Monday, while the Bishop Carter Gators and Chelmsford
Flyers exchange pleasantries on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, it's time for the "A" quarter-finals, with the Lockerby Vikings, Lo-Ellen Park Knights, Notre-Dame Alouettes and Lasalle Lancers
all in the mix. Confederation and Marymount have earned a first round bye, with tie-breaking calculations still to be done to sort out the exact matchups
for the mid-week showdowns.
The senior boys football semi-finals are also slated for Monday, with the St Benedict Bears and Confederation Chargers opening the festivities
at 5:00 p.m., while St Charles and the Lively Hawks meet in a rematch of an outstanding season opening game, one in which the Cards registered a
tough 21-14 win.