Crestwood Senior Football

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Photo Karen Graham.
Coaches prepare Crestwood Senior Football players last week for their final game in the OFSSA Eastern Bowl.

It’s one of the last practices before the championship game and a key player is missing.  Unimpressed, the team urges one of the coaches to call the missing player on speaker so they can harass him in unison.  The team will meet one more time on Sunday morning to firm up their game plan for their meeting with Courtice Holy Trinity at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field the following day at 1 pm for the Ontario Federation of School Athletics Association (OFSAA) Eastern Bowl.

The Mustangs clinched a spot in the Eastern Bowl game for a second-straight year with a 17-5 victory in a tight game against the Centennial Charges in the COSSA senior AAA football final in Belleville on November 9th.  Their Monday game in Hamilton marked their 10th appearance at the OFSAA Bowl, where they came to defend their 2016 championship title.

OFSAA is a federation of 18 regional school athletic associations geographically spread across the province.  With the participation of student-athletes, teacher-coaches, principals, and sport administrators, the organization strives to provide opportunities for education and personal development in high school students through school sport.  The Ontario secondary school football season winds up in a series of nine bowl games hosted by the organization, where the top teams from each region face off in a professional football venue.

The Crestwood football teams have always been a force to reckon with, but this year they faced stronger local competition.  For decades, the local high school football league has been dominated by teams from Crestwood and Adam Scott, but earlier this year the Thomas A. Stewart Griffins defeated both of these teams.  The Fenelon Falls Falcons also achieved some success in the league, leaving four teams wrestling for top spot.  Coach Oldfield believes that the more intense competition the Mustangs faced this fall made his team stronger and better equipped to meet their strongest opponent on Monday.

This is the second straight year Coaches at Crestwood opted to go the AAA route as an AA sized school, which also ratchets up the competition, but hey, they needed a challenge! Like most schools the enrolment at Crestwood has fallen, from over 1100 in 2001 to roughly 650 this year.  This decline is also reflected in the player count.  Crestwood headed to Hamilton with 33 players, 3 of them junior team members who came up at the conclusion of the Junior team’s season.  At their peak, the team fielded 59 players.

Coach Oldfield does not believe that parental concern over concussions has fueled this decline.  He explains that players are now trained to hit chest-to-chest, and to avoid any contact with their helmets.  Hits to the head still occur, but these are accidental.

At the Eastern Bowl on Monday, Crestwood got off to a quick start, scoring a touchdown in the first three minutes of the game, and remained ahead until the last quarter.  Each time the team pressed ahead, their opponent responded, and at the four minute mark, Holy Trinity pulled ahead to clinch the title with a final score of 28 to 23.

Congratulations to the team for another remarkable season. KG

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