What an Incredible Day
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
It was insanely cold outside – and had been since we arrived in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning but as I stood next to Lakeshore football association president Ted Stote and mosquito head coach Glen Cooper yesterday between the second and third leg of an unprecedented sweep of all three Metro Montreal Football League championship games around 2:45 p.m., Cooper looked up and said ‘I can’t believe I’m sweating.’
Well, I could. When the day began, Cooper’s mosquito AAA Cougars, the peewee AAA team (for whom he acts as the defensive coordinator for head coach Trevor Lovig’s squad) and the bantam AAA squad were all playing for their own share of glory, and as the bantam Cougars put the finishing touches on their 20-7 victory over the Western Patriotes in their title game, Cooper wasn’t the only Lakeshore parent, coach or supporter who had sweated a little bit. The sweep was actually four championships, because we must include the atom team, who won their championship game a week ago with coaches Kris Parent and Jesse Roberts leading the way.
In the mosquito AAA final, the Cougars rode a powerful running game and a stifling defence to a 13-0 shutout of the Sud-Ouest Laurentian Wildcats to complete a 12-0 season. The mosquitoes ran their new 40 defence to perfection and in two playoff games, the team scored 49 points in inhospitable weather while allowing precisely no points.
Running back and linebacker Jeremy St-Vil was named the MVP for the Cougars, who got great leadership and clutch play from quarterback/halfback Matt Cooper and a powerful offensive line of Cole Lalonde, Ben Devine, Camil Gagnon, Nathan MacIntosh, Nathan Zeliger and Samson Sun, great running from Simon He, Niron Sexton ‘who was a beast on offence and defence’ and Roman Cordoba and incredible defensive play from linebacker Jackson Stote (who moved to halfback in a special defence conceived for the Wildcats’ downfield passing game) and fellow defenders Jake Rokas, Simmion Hyde, Liam Cook, Ethan Feldmann, Nathan Piotrowski and Justin Lavigne all contributed to the only shutout of the day on defence.
The Wildcats threatened to score only once, near the end of the first half. But they got no closer than the Cougar 17-yard-line.
‘Defence wins championships,’ Cooper quipped as we grabbed a quick beverage break right after the peewee final, in which the Cougars were locked in a defensive struggle against the Chomedey Blues. An early interception return for a touchdown staked the Blues to a 7-0 lead, and the Cougars shut the door from there, putting the brakes on Chomedey’s dynamic quarterback George Koutsokos and generating enough offence to overcome an overwhelming number of questionable penalty flags. A second-quarter touchdown scamper from Kevyn DeSerres Payne, a two-point conversion kick and a late punt single through the end zone locked down the 9-7 victory for the Cougars, also completing their own undefeated 12-0 season.
A late stop on defence cemented the victory for the Cougars as a friendly crowd made so much noise stomping the metal stands that Koutsokos and the Blues’ offence false-started on two of the last three plays in their final possession.
Head coach Trevor Lovig’s swiss-army-knife offence, which relied on deception and execution far more than brute force and Cooper’s aggressive attacking defensive scheme called on defenders to be aggressive and disciplined all at once. A tall order, but they pulled it off, Cooper said, smiling, "(Nicholas) Nardi and Lance (Van Borstel) just collapsed the pocket, and they stayed in their lanes. They had to. They had tenacity and relentlessness. They followed the game plan perfectly," he said, smiling. Peace Mbakadi, Jackson Cooper, Salikh Salakhutdinov, Ben Parent, Kayan Green and Louis Mari all put forth monster efforts on defence and Matthew Pate, Matthew Rafla, Owen Rourke, Hayden Thompson and Damian Moustache-Cumberbatch all took turns opening holes for Noah Escobar, Payne and Hayden Gerelus and Sebastien Mari who worked Lovig’s misdirection-heavy running game to perfection throughout the season, and do-it-all running back-tight end-backup-quarterback-cornerback-on-defence Daniel Devine was instrumental not only to his own team, but to the mosquito team as as scout-teamer, (as was Jackson Cooper).
Quarterback Jackson Lovig overcame a tough first quarter to lead his team to a championship, avoiding Blues rushers deftly while being largely careful with the football and resourceful on the run. Head coach Trevor Lovig --yes, the former Hec Crighton Award finalist from Bishop's University -- recruited his former Gaiters head coach Ian Breck to help out, lending his invaluable experience to everyone involved in the team.
Reid King, Mathias Daupleix, Jacob Lamb, Kyan Desaubin, Julian Bibaud-Wentink and Tristan Carrier all played important reserve roles.
‘That’s how you have to play in November,’ Cooper said, as the bantams took the field with their 11-0 season on the line against the Western Patriotes. Indeed, the cold temperatures were a factor Sunday, with many normally sure-handed ballcarriers losing the handle on the ball in what became an overwhelming cold by the time the first quarter ended with the Cougars up 7-0. As athletic and dynamic quarterback Glenn Valentine and receiver Tyler Patson led an impressive offensive attack that featured Valentine as a ballcarrier on many early downs, attacking the Patriots on the edge before shifting to an air attack when the Pats brought their halfbacks up to the line of scrimmage. Athletic defenders Nolan Howard and Luke Levesque were instrumental in holding the Patriots to one score, and Yusuf Salakhutdinov put in some work as well.
Adjustments are the hallmark of a great coaching staff, and it was clear the bantams were just as blessed with football acumen as the peewee staff. The 20-7 win cemented an unprecedented first for Lakeshore football – championships in all four categories in which they field teams.
Plus, by now, I assume we have all thawed out. Even with heated seats and my son in the car
I’ll post some photos and other analysis of each team’s victories tomorrow. If I got name wrong, I’m sorry. Most of the photos I have are of the mosquito team but I’ll get some more from the bantam and peewee games tomorrow.
I’m a proud coach and a proud dad and I know that there are a lot more like me. As I get more analysis and photos and interviews I’ll put them up this week. Also, if I got your kid’s name wrong, I’ll fix it. I’m looking at you here, Marat.
If Bill Simmons can do Browns Week on The Ringer, I can do Cougars Week on my blog, I think.