It could be called the Prime Minister Bowl — Sir John A. Macdonald Black Scots versus Sir Wilfrid Laurier Blue Devils.
The two historic rivals met on Thursday afternoon, and it was the Black Scots who ended up victorious in a convincing matter.
On the strength of six turnovers from the defence, and the legs of running back Chris Smart, who had two touchdowns, Macdonald defeated Laurier 23-0, at Laurier.
Early on, the Blue Devils’ (2-1) defence was simply suffocating. They forced a fumble on a 3rd and goal from the one, and then stifled Macdonald’s running game six straight times early in the second from a yard out.
“When you get stuffed six times it’s a little frustrating,” said Macdonald head coach Scott Driscoll, of his team’s early scoring chances. “If the ball is on the one yard line you want to punch it in the first opportunity.”
The game was seemingly set for a good ol’ fashioned defensive slug fest.
However, late in the second, momentum shifted heavily in favour of the Black Scots (1-1).
After giving up an interception of their own, Macdonald returned the favour by forcing a fumble and putting the ball on the one yard line.
This time, Chris Smart, the grade 12 running back, punched in the one-yard run for the game’s first score.
Then, after a quick three-and-out by Laurier with only a couple minutes left in the second quarter, Rakeem Simms dashed for a 40-yard score, racing by the Laurier safety for the two-score lead.
After the Black Scots gained the lead, the “momentum was on the Macdonald side, and they just seemed to chip away, chip away, chip away,” said Laurier coach Louis Foulidis.
And after the second score, it was from that point forward that Macdonald’s defence controlled the game.
They forced three turnovers within the first few minutes of the third quarter, and Foulidis’ squad never seemed to get back in the game.
“Our defence played the game perfectly. Our offence had some trouble, but it was our defence that kept us in the game,” said Macdonald back Christ Smart after the game.
Because their defence kept giving the Scots opportunities to score, the offence was finally able to capitalize. Including Smart, who punched the end zone twice in what he referred to as his “rebound game.”
Smart, who now has three scores on the year, came up big in the game after fumbling twice in the season opener versus Birchmount Park a week ago.
Although the offence executed from the first score onwards for Macdonald, it really was the defence and the turnover battle that was the key to the Black Scots victory.
“Ball security is probably the most important thing throughout the game. It allows you to control the ball, control the clock, and as long as your team has possession you have an opportunity to put the ball in the end zone,” said Driscoll
Foulidis tried not to be blame his team’s performance solely on turnovers, however he stated that “every facet needs to be working. If one thing is wrong then everything is wrong.
With six turnovers, everything was wrong.
However, the defence played brilliantly at times, and the coach believes there’s lots of positives to take from today’s lost.
For Macdonald, it was a key victory against a tough opponent. And coach Driscoll called it a character victory, because “they showed a lot of heart and sometimes that’s more important than numbers and size.”