Sports

Holy Trinity footballers notch first-ever win over Delhi

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

The speedy Andrew Lance had three touchdowns for Holy Trinity in Delhi Friday night en route to leading his team to a 34-7 win. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

The speedy Andrew Lance had three touchdowns for Holy Trinity in Delhi Friday night en route to leading his team to a 34-7 win. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

DELHI, ON - 

The Holy Trinity Titans knocked a monkey off their back Friday with a 34-7 win over the Delhi Raiders.

The decisive victory was the first for the Titans over the powerhouse Raiders in the nearly 15 years since the Holy Trinity football program was established.

And the win came during the Friday Night Lights football showcase in Delhi, a major fundraiser for the Raiders and a massive after-dark event that lines the field at Delhi District Secondary School on both sides with spectators.

“We’ve been looking forward to this game all season,” a jubilant Alec Perreault said afterwards. “This is even bigger than winning the championship because we beat them here on their own night.”

The Raiders’ second loss of the season in three games underscores that this edition of the team is a work in progress.

Many key seniors who carried the Raiders to the Haldimand-Norfolk final last year have moved on. Many of their replacements have limited experience and are riding a learning curve.

Several members of the Raiders championship squad from 2002 experienced déjà vu as they watched the Titans dismantle the Raiders. A dozen members of this team were guests at Friday’s game. They were reminded that disappointment often prevails before giving way to success.

Kevin Cann recalled how the young Raiders of 1999 lost every game and many more games in 2000. But in 2001 the Raiders made it to the finals and in 2002 they won all the marbles.

Those were the days when the Raiders’ uniforms were gold with blue trim.

“They don’t look as bad as we did in our first year,” Cann said. “The joke then was we looked like big bananas out there the way we were slip-sliding around.

“They’re starting off the same as we did. You start off with a young team and you end up with a great team.”

Friday’s game provided evidence of yet another great running back emerging in the Haldimand-Norfolk league in a year of talented ball carriers.

Andrew Lance of Holy Trinity had a break-out game with three touchdowns. Lance had at least half a dozen carries from scrimmage in the range of 60 yards or better.

Lance is a senior student who is playing his first full-year of high school football. He was named Holy Trinity’s MVP at the end of Friday’s game.

“It’s an unreal feeling,” Lance said. “Delhi played great. But we just kept coming at them and came out on top.”

Titans coach Steve Petrella was thrilled to see his team hitting on all cylinders. Play so far this year suggests a lot of parity across the league. Holy Trinity’s performance Friday also suggests that a berth in this fall’s Haldimand-Norfolk Bowl is within their grasp.

“We’ve got three really good athletes on this team,” Petrella said. “We have yet to have all three show up. Tonight, Andrew showed up. He played his heart out.”

Delhi coach Dave Leatherland knows his young team is short on experience in some areas. However, he didn’t sugar-coat the loss. Instead, he told his players how they respond to this defeat will be a measure of their character.

“We’re a better team than we showed tonight,” Leatherland said. “We had an absolutely horrid start. You can’t turn the ball over like we did tonight. We dug ourselves a really deep hole

“I asked them how are you going to respond after a game like this? We absolutely have to come out and do better against Simcoe next week.”

Perreault had two touchdowns for Holy Trinity. Tristen Rodgers scored Delhi’s lone touchdown in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter.

Delhi’s next game is this Friday at 2 p.m. at Simcoe Composite School. For their part, Holy Trinity will be in Valley Heights on Friday as well. Kickoff there is also 2 p.m.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com