Saints Rally To Defeat Panthers And Earn Playoff Berth
By Sam Laskaris
The Richview Saints senior boys’ football squad picked a rather opportune time to get its offence on track.
The Saints were facing the prospect of having their 2022 season come to an end on Thursday in their final regular season match against the Lawrence Park Panthers.
Richview entered the contest sporting a winless 0-3 mark. Needing a victory to have any chance of earning a playoff berth in its five-team league, the Saints found themselves trailing 7-0 against Lawrence Park with about five minutes remaining in the match.
As it turned out, Richview ended up scoring a pair of late touchdowns to earn a 14-7 win over the Panthers in what was dubbed as Football Toronto’s Game of the Week.
Both Richview and Lawrence Park ended up with 1-3 records. The Etobicoke Rams also finished off with a 1-3 mark.
Based on a points for/against formula, both the Saints, who ended up finishing third in the standings of the Toronto public schools league, and the fourth-place Panthers will advance to post-season play.
And the Rams will be the only league entrant on the outside looking in when the playoffs kick off this coming week.
“We needed it,” Saints’ head coach Stath Koumoutseas of his club’s late rally. “I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think we’re as bad as our record shows.”
But the Richview club, a perennial Toronto high school power prior to the pandemic, has had its share of early-season struggles this year.
Those woes continued for a good chunk of Thursday’s outing.
“They were up for most of the game,” Koumotseas said of the Panthers. “That’s the bottom line.”
The Saints were their own worst enemy at times.
“We just kept getting penalties,” Koumoutseas added. “That was the case for both teams. We just weren’t able to execute.”
Until their two late touchdowns, that is.
Richview running back Nicholas Allison scored his major on a 10-yard run while Saints’ QB Michael Winiker hooked up with receiver Daishawn Buckham for the other major score.
Pedro Leones converted both point after attempts for the Saints.
Richview will now meet the second-ranked Western Tech Colts in a city semi-final match next Friday (Nov. 4) at Toronto’s Esther Shiner Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, the top-ranked Northern Red Knights, who posted a 4-0 regular season record, will meet the Panthers in the other city semi on Friday. That match, also at Esther Shiner Stadium, is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.