This past summer, football players and coaches from the HWCDSB travelled coast to coast to represent Ontario at several national football events.
The Football Canada Cup, held July 9-17, is the premier pre-university football tournament that showcases the top u18 football players from across the country. For some of the players, it was their first time visiting the beautiful University of British Columbia-Okanagan campus located in the southern interior of British Columbia. Representing Team Ontario were Lucas Barresi (St. John Henry Newman), Michael Borota (St. Mary), Matthew Jovanovic (Bishop Ryan) and Luca Tassone (Bishop Tonnos). Also selected but unable to participate due to injury were Noah Clark (St. John Henry Newman) and Isaiah Shields (Bishop Tonnos).
Team Ontario played 3 games in 8 days. The team finished in 4th place, losing to Team Quebec in a tightly contested bronze medal game.
The tournament is seen as one of the foremost scouting opportunities of the year, with games and practices heavily scouted by CIS coaches from universities across the country. Several of the players will be taking visits to their campuses later this fall.
In mid-July, Adrian Tassone (Bishop Tonnos), Jack Cino (St. Jean de Brébeuf) and Coach Rob Fuciarelli (St. Thomas More) represented Ontario at the u16 East Regional Challenge. The event allows provincial teams to test their skills and compete against neighbouring provinces. This year’s Eastern Challenge was held in Sackville, New Brunswick. The boys were hosted by Mount Allison University, spending 7 days in the dormitories, and experiencing the rigours of being a university football player. After defeating Team Nova Scotia in the opener, the team advanced to the finals, losing to the very talented and defending champions, Team Quebec.
Following a two-year hiatus, in mid-August, the u18 5 aside Flag Football National Championship was held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The National event brings together teams from across the country to participate.
After competing and winning regional tournaments in Ontario, several HWCDSB players were selected to compete in the tournament: Ryan Begadon, Elliot Blake, Francesco Romano, Isaiah Shileds, Luca Tassone, and Jackson Taylor from Bishop Tonnos, Matthew Jovanovic from Bishop Ryan, and Chris Ptaszek from St. Mary, along with coaches Cartier Shields and Kyle Taylor from Bishop Tonnos.
The team finished the Round Robin 4-1. After a back-and-forth game, Team Ontario fell short in the finals, losing 40-30 to Team Manitoba.
All participants are thankful for the training and experiences in their travels and are looking forward to competing in the always competitive HWCDSB league.