East York Collegiate’s season came to a disappointing conclusion in a most unusual way on Tuesday.
The Goliaths’s senior football team fell to the Lawrence Park Panthers by a remarkable 1-0 score of Tier I South Region quarter-finals.
The game’s only point came moments into the fourth quarter after a missed 20-yard field goal attempt by the Panthers that the East York returner couldn’t run out of the end zone.
As the fourth and fifth seeds heading into the playoff matchup, the close game was to be expected, but with home field advantage and a win against Lawrence Park in the regular season, the Goliaths were the favourites heading into Tuesday.
“They’re a much better team than they showed today,” said Glenn Edwards, coach of the Goliaths. “Lawrence Park is a good team. We only beat them 12-0 in the regular season. It wasn’t going to be a big mismatch on either side.”
Both teams were successful at times in their running game, but each squad had difficulty in sustaining a passing attack.
“We just didn’t execute,” Edwards said. “It’s not their fault, the coaches called the wrong plays.”
East York’s best offensive sequence came late in the first quarter after a 20-yard run by running back Melad Akabri. However, with the ball deep in the Panthers’ territory, the Goliaths turned the ball over.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Goliaths were able to make a third-down conversion after a run by Eli Cooper, but another turnover ended another promising drive.
“We had our opportunities, we kept with the run, the defence played well,” he said. “In a 1-0 game, both teams…whether they executed well or poorly, I don’t know.”
Following the game, the players of East York Collegiate were visibly upset about the team’s early post-season exit.
“East York has never lost in the first round of the playoffs,” said Dylan Howell, a defensive player for the Goliaths. “It’s hitting us hard.”
Edwards talked after the game about the message he leaves with his team at the end of another season.
“My door is always open to them, they may dine with me at any point in time,” he said. “There will always be a meal on my table for them and I’ll always be there [protecting] their back. If they need someone as a teammate or anybody, their teammate or coach will be there.”