The Ottawa Sooners couldn’t quite prevent a three-peat by the Windsor AKO Fratmen, but a strong showing in the Ontario Football Conference championship game on Sunday left them looking ahead to the possibilities in 2016.
“They’re a team full of great athletes,” Ottawa receiver Joey MacDonald said after the Fratmen had claimed their third straight Teddy Morris Memorial Trophy with a 21-11 victory at home. “We came in with a game plan, but their athletes, they got it done today.
“We have athletes, too,” MacDonald said. “I’d like to see them again in next year’s championship. We have a couple of key guys that we look up to leaving this year and they’re going to be missed, but we’ve got a lot of guys coming back. We’ll be fresh and I think we’ll be even tougher next year. … We’re going to continue to grow.”
The Sooners are headed for the OFC Championship Game. They went into Hamilton Saturday and avenged last year's semifinal loss, taking down the Hurricanes at Tim Horton's Field 41-35. Ottawa built up a 41-14 lead with 9 minutes to go before things went completely sideways. Hamilton came back with 21 unanswered points and even got the onside kick, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.
Former Carleton Ravens running back Dechaun Beals came in for his only defensive play all season and knocked down a last gasp Hamilton pass deep in the Ottawa end zone. While preventing one touchdown, Beals had earlier scored one of his own. Other majors came from Josh Racine, Cassidy Malenfant (2) and Kwasi Gyamfi.
"Full marks to Hamilton," said head coach John Buck. "Coach Hayes and his staff … it's a never-give-up thing."
Hamilton had gone into Ottawa in early October and extracted the 38-31 victory which earned them home field advantage for Saturday, but from the outset the Sooners took it to the Hurricanes, leading 28-14 at the half.
The Sooners advance to next Saturday's OFC championship game in Windsor against the two-time defending champion Fratmen, while the Hurricanes miss the league final for the first time in six years. The OFC Final is st for 1pm at Lajeunesse Field.
(With files from the Hamilton Spectator)