Nathaniel Rouse’s punt return touchdown led the Richview Saints to a 7-3 victory over the Central Tech Blues in Friday afternoon’s high school season opener.
Rouse’s second quarter marker was the lone score in the error-filled game.
After a scoreless first quarter, Rouse delivered a spectacular punt return beating a slew of defenders to the outside and then seemingly turned up his pace to another gear, sprinting to the end zone untouched.
Richview’s head coach Stath Koumoutseas expects more game-changing plays from his dynamic receiver/kick returner.
“(His role) is going to be significant.
“For us to be successful this year, we’re going to need some catalysts and he needs to be one of them,” Koumoutseas said.
These are two of the top clubs in the city and for the first time they find themselves in the same division.
On the opening kickoff, Richview fumbled the ball, putting Central Tech in an excellent position to capitalize on the error.
However, Central Tech missed a short field goal, a play that was emblematic of their red zone woes.
On the next possession, Richview was stripped of the ball at midfield, and both team’s nerves were evident throughout the first half.
Richview (1-0) and Central Tech (0-1) will have to improve numerous facets of their game, if they are to contend for the Metro Bowl.
Neither team established a strong passing game, and failed to take advantage of their scoring opportunities.
Richview won the Toronto District Secondary School Athletic Association (TDSSAA) championship in 2010, and is looking to surge into the Metro Bowl this fall.
Central Tech went undefeated in the regular season last year, before losing to Agincourt in the TDSSAA semifinals.
Linebacker/safety Nicolas Constantine was a menace on the field for Richview, stopping a pivotal Central Tech drive with an interception in the second quarter.
Constantine would then block a punt in the third quarter, and he continually stifled the Blues’ offence.
The veteran defender’s experience and intelligence will be relied upon if Richview are to contend for the Metro Bowl.
“He’s a great hard-nosed football player, a great kid, but really a hard nosed football player.
“He’s a veteran player who was part of our (TDSSAA) championship team two years ago, and he really understands offences,” said Koumoutseas.
Terrell Allert-Nairne anchored Central Tech’s defence in the losing effort.
Central Tech attempted a valiant fourth quarter comeback attempt. After the Blues scored a single to break up the shutout, Richview ran the ball into its own end zone and took a safety in an attempt to kill the clock.
This approach almost backfired on the Saints, as Richview fumbled the ball on their next possession, giving Central Tech an opportunity to punch in a touchdown from the Saints’ 20-yard line.
Yet in a red zone drive that mirrored their efforts all afternoon, Central Tech’s running back duo of Kadeem Thomas and Samuel Francis were unable to break through Richview’s outstanding front seven.
After punting the ball away, Central Tech attempted one last drive hoping to forge a last minute comeback.
However Richview’s Grant Benjamin intercepted a wild pass, effectively sealing the game for the home team.
This game was Richview’s first in the South division of the TDSSAA. After the district realigned the conferences, the Saints were put in the West division for the 2012 season.