BY IAN THORPE
Last Sunday’s conclusion to the NFL season had to be one of the most exciting Super Bowl games in memory. And for those who pull for the underdogs, one of the most satisfying.
Against the odds and without the aid of several injured key teammates, backup quarterback Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a thrilling 41-33 victory over league MVP Tom Brady and the defending champion New England Patriots. It was the first Vince Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champions for the Eagles, who last won the NFL title in 1960. And Foles, who stepped in to replace injured starting quarterback Carson Wentz last December, finished his season by earning the Rozelle Trophy as game MVP. A storybook ending.
It may not be the NFL, but there is also plenty of exciting football action provided each year by local elementary school athletes. The Nanaimo Elementary Teachers’ Physical Education Association offers touch football leagues for boys and girls each fall. The popular league for bantam (born 2004-05) boys was co-ordinated again this year by Doug English. Following post-season playoffs he passed along results…
In the division for larger schools with a population of over 310 students, the playoff final saw the boys’ team from Quarterway emerge as district champion thanks to a win over Park Avenue. The winning squad was coached by Mike Lundine and the Quarterway players were Kieran Gil, Finn Valdez, Hugo MaConnachie, David Anderson, Dylan Barberie, A.J. Caron, Aidan Godbout, Liam Gordon, Logan MacGillivray, Chase Mackinnon, Noah McCallum, Peter Morch, Shae Sparks and Sol Yeung.
It was a tough loss in the final for a Park Avenue team that had been undefeated all season. Players were Daniel Rutaquio, Patrick Canning, Colin O’Handley, Zac Burton, Parker Moscrip, Evan Zhang, Cole Chase, Ryan Munro, Aiden Pelto, Alex Doucette, Mason Nohr, Riley George and Ryder Mount. Coaching the team was Mike Canning, assisted by sponsor Linden Shaw.
Third place in the playoffs for large schools went to Hammond Bay. In fourth spot was Coal Tyee, consisting of players Kevin Boliver, Kane Law, Mathew Wilson, Owen Bell, Ben Burns, James McGuire, Luke Folz, Bostyn McDonald, Ethan Garland and coach Doug English.
A separate set of playoffs was held for teams from schools with a smaller population base. In those, the bantam team from Departure Bay claimed first place. Runners-up were the boys from Chase River coached by Darren Dickie. On the roster were players Oliver Tulk, Hunter Smith, Daxson Storey, Cole Nicholson, Tyler Campbell, Shanie Wheat, Payton Brodsky, Lucas Laukkanen, Isabella Bennett, Natalie Senini, Jasmine Vincent, Lily Thomas, Cole Nicholson, Adah Godley and Cohen Cadieux.
In third place came Frank J. Ney Elementary. Representing their school were players Nathan Bell-Cirone, Evan Bloomquist, Rylan Byrd, Lance Cabusao, Scott Chadwick, Will Clay, Ben Clouthier, Tysen Fontenla, Ira Francis, Dawson Homan, Manav Kadnola, Tristan Moore, Dawson Sharpe, Jayden Sohal and Austin Welch. Coach for the team was Wayne Clouthier.
The fourth-place pennant went to coach Sean Lowrence and his crew of Bayview players Cali Birch, Thomas Marshall, Caden Bennett, Billy Baker, Patrick Seward, Eva Louis, Memphis Wyse, Alexander Barter, Macy Laviolette, Jayden Thomas and Vincent Walls-Good.
Also this past season, a separate league operated for bantam girls’ touch football teams. We’ll pass along the girls’ playoff results in a future column.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.