Like Super Bowl contenders heading down the playoff road, Leaside and North Toronto sat key starters to avoid injury in their final regular season match Oct. 21.
Even with Leaside’s junior football team’s upper echelon riding the pine, the game was rife with offensive attacks, coaches Aurelian Matoc and James Roseborough said.
“Today’s game was just about going out there,” Roseborough said. “We got everybody in the game and just enjoying a good day of football.”
Still a 15-0 loss to the Norsemen under frosty, rainy skies has shown the coaches what they need to improve on for their quarterfinal rematch Oct. 26.
“We’re definitely going to have to have some good practices to stand up with these guys next week,” Matoc said.
A favourite for Leaside was sending Andrew Duffield on the rush. He would gain 40 yards in total before being replaced by Fredson Otchere gatecrashing North Toronto’s stringent D.
“I think at first the offence didn’t adjust to the defence. Then later we ended up finding some gaps,” Matoc said. “We actually had to shift some guys around to find the soft spot in the defence.”
That defence was the pride of North Toronto’s veteran coach Danny Russell, adding the offence has a few creases to iron out.
“I thought we could have had a few more scores and the defence played really well,” he said. “We have to work on our passing attack a little bit.”
Scoring began with a Sam Beckerman field goal to end the first half. In the third, Reilly Hayhurst rushed 30 yards for six. No dice on the convert.
The Norsemen’s final sextet of points came from Beckerman to Travis Cook. Another failed conversion kept them from seven.
Regardless of missing the uprights, Russell is optimistic about their next game.
“We were competitive against Lawrence Park, Northern and East York,” he said. “We haven’t been blown out.
“The talent is right we just have to get them to believe in themselves.”
North Toronto finished with a 2-3 record while Matoc’s Lancers stand at 1-4. Regardless of their record, Leaside is remaining positive, which should make for some great football when the meet each other again.
“I think we’re going to make all the right adjustments and the boys are definitely going to come out to play.”