Cougars climb championship mountain
The Lakeshore Cougars took home three league titles this weekend, with their expansion Midget, Peewee and Mosquito teams all completing undefeated seasons with championship-game victories this weekend at Stade Hebert in Saint-Leonard.
The Midget Cougars won a thrilling 28-24 final over the Greenfield Park Packers, with the Cougars needing a fourth-down stop with under a minute to play in the game to keep the Packers out of the end zone.
With the Packers down to their last play on the Cougars’ four-yard line Quincy Logan, Raph Dunn and Nolan Howard converged on the Packers’ quarterback, sacking him to end the game.
The Packers jumped out to a 10-0 lead on a field goal and a long Tony Lombardo touchdown catch before Cougars linebacker Ryan Quesnel picked off a Greenfield Park pass and took it back for a touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Cougars new life. A Glenn Valentine touchdown run a few minutes later gave the Cougars a 14-10 halftime lead. In the second half, both teams traded long touchdown passes, with the Valentine hitting Tyler Pazin on a 90-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Zach Pipe’s 16-yard touchdown run provided the winning points for the Cougars, who got dominating defensive line play from Howard, Logan and Tobi Cheukwuekezie, as well as strong performances from Dunn, Adam Perks, James Lannon and Simon Libersan.
On offence, the Cougars got big games from Xander Caperis and Luke Levesque, who was named the top lineman in the game by Football Quebec.
“The kids played their hearts out and never gave up. I’m proud of their effort today, and throughout the season,” said Fiore, whose team sported an 8-0 regular-season record before defeating LaSalle 14-13 last week.
The Peewee Cougars also finished their championship season against a formidable opponent – the previously unbeaten Sunnybrooke Bombers – and defeating them, 40-27.
Cougars’ touchdowns came courtesy of Sebastien Mari, Troy Dottin and Mathew Cooper, as the Cougars rode a powerful inside running game fueled by an offensive line featuring Cole Lalonde, Logan Horn, Jeremy Tishalamba, Mady Van Rees and Zack Belval. Belval also turned in a great game on defence and got support from Louis Mari, Kayen Green, Michael Layos – who was named the defensive player of the game for his efforts – Jeremy St-Vil, Loic Thibault, Salikh Salukhutdinov, Chase del Grosso and Justin Labbe.
“We asked a lot of the kids in practice and they responded. I’m very proud of them. We were almost always smaller than the other teams we played, but these kids know how to play football. They worked hard every day in practice and they deserve this,” Cooper said.
The Mosquito Cougars rounded out the association’s trio of triumphs Saturday morning, defeating the Chateauguay Raiders 28-6 to mark the Mosquito team’s third straight perfect season (the Cougars went undefeated and won league titles in 2018 and 2019; no championships were awarded in 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions). Majors in the contest were scored by Devin Taylor with a pair, Jake Roberts and quarterback Edouard Wright.
The Cougars raced out to a 22-0 halftime lead and managed to hang on against a tenacious Raiders squad.
Head coach Jesse Roberts said the offense was led by Wright’s steady hand with a tremendous running game, led Taylor and James Marese-Dorzin and powered by an offensive line made up of James Beausejour, Alex Panagopolous, Jacob Legare, Justin Walker, Joseph-Michael Alcindor, Noah D’Elia and Domenic Bernier.
On defense, the Cougars got big efforts from Jeremy Horn, Camil Gagnon, Emerson Lin and defensive MVP Jake Rokas, as well as Jeremyah Andre, Max Manzano, Marvin Paul and Tyler Riverin-Cholowiecki. On offense, they got carries from Jackson Conroy, Ethan Velenosi, Dylan Roberts and a host of others.
Roberts said his team had but one focus all season long.
“The kids really deserve this. They had a championship on their mind and they kept that focus in our games and in practice. I’m proud of the effort they put in and I’m proud of what they accomplished,” said Roberts, who was in his first year as the team’s head coach. “It’s realty pretty remarkable.”
The Cougars’ atom squad also appeared in the finals, coming out on the wrong end of an 18-0 result that was a 6-0 defensive battle for most of the game, before the Greenfield Park Packers finally grabbed the title. Head coach Adrian Kerr said it wouldn’t be the last you hear about the Lakeshore atoms.
“We’re going to come back stronger next season. We have high hopes and we will look to repeat some of the success we had next season and complete the journey with a championship,” he said.