Lancers find a balance in time for the playoffs

THE DOMINO EFFECT: Leaside’s John Birnie, 25, helps his teammates bring down Central Tech’s potent running back Samuel Francis during their last regular season game. Though the Lancers lost, 12-0, they advanced to the playoffs.

Coach Georgiadis touts 12-0 loss as the best defensive effort of ’11

The conclusion to Leaside Lancers’ regular football season involved rain and the mayor.

Watching their Oct. 21 road game against Central Tech from the sidelines was Rob Ford, who was scouting possible challenges to his undefeated Don Bosco Eagles, a squad he still coaches.

It was probably a game the Lancers wished the mayor hadn’t seen as they lost 12-0 to the Blues.

The local squad got off to a rocky start with Central Tech’s Kadeem Thomas, who returned a kickoff for 80 yards from his own red zone into Lancers territory.

On that same play, Lancers linebacker Sean Ryan went down. Still, Central could not finish their drive.

Throughout the first half both teams went back and forth. The Green and Gold were forced to hold their breath when Blues running back Samuel Francis ran into the endzone.

The Lancers were spared six points when referees threw their orange flags, forcing Central to move back 15 yards. Then on a bad snap, Mustafa Sablige was unable to kick the ball, forcing a turnover on downs.

The back and forth possession gave Lancers coach Jim Georgiadis some hope.

“I told the guys, this was the best defensive game we played all year,” he said. “We had a good practice, a good week of preparation and the team overall executed the gameplan really well today.”

During a passionate half-time speech, the Lancers went back at the Blues tied at goose eggs.

But Leaside wide receiver Abhinna Archarya made one vital observation.

“We came out less fired up than they were,” he said. “They just took it from there.”

That Central did as Francis, in his first start of the season for Jermal Boreland — out with an injured ankle, rumbled down the field putting his Blues in the redzone. Nikal Jackson would then bulldoze his way into the endzone.

In the fourth quarter, Francis would get his own six-pack. On both touchdowns, Sablige failed to convert.

Central coach Jeff Hunter commended his 16-year-old rookie, Francis, for his hard work, along with Thomas and cornerback Anthony Granderson.

In the defence of the Lancers, their offence, anchored by quarterback Daniel Giacomello, produce two strong drives.

“I thought the offence definitely had to send a message to the defence,” he said. “I wanted to get the spirits up for everybody and I wanted to have good momentum going into the second half.”

Still, dropped passes stalled momentum, and Georgiadis noted, they can’t always go to wideout Archarya.

“Teams are starting to realize our offence does go through 83,” he said. “They make adjustments during the game, which allows other guys to step up.

“That’s our plan for this week is try to get more guys involved, add more dimensions to the offence and hopefully spread the ball around.”

Playoffs are next on the schedule. The Lancers finished the season at 3-2, and will face Northern in the first round of the South Region, nothing too concerning for Leaside.

“We’re a good football team and I think we’re the upper part of the south,” he added. “We can play with the Northerns and Central Techs.

“We feel good about ourselves.”

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