Peparation best prepares a team to meet the demands of opportunity.
Dean Breton scored three touchdowns as the Superior Heights Steelhawks picked up a 27-9 victory over the St. Mary’s Knights in the city football semifinal at Sergeant John Faught Fieldhouse on Friday night.
“We had a good two weeks of really good practices and the intensity we brought tonight was a lot better than any other game we’ve had, so far,” Breton told the Sault Star immediately following the game. ‘The offensive line was making some nice holes for me to find and the intensity was really good.”
Breton, who also plays linebacker and defensive end, ran the ball for 137 yards, made four tackles, had one quarterback sack and recovered a fumble.
Up next for the Steelhawks are the Korah Colts in the city final, the winner moving on in the quest for provincial supremacy.
“It’s honestly, amazing,” Breton said. “The high school football city final is the best thing ever and I couldn’t imagine not making it. It’s awesome.”
And while Knights head coach Jim Monico was very respectful and deferential to the team that ended his club’s season prematurely, he’s hoping his returning players remember the hollow feeling, what it’s like to leave the football field and not have the game to return to come the next morning of the day after.
“I told the guys coming back to remember this feeling and we don’t want to have this feeling anymore, it’s time to turn this ship around,” Monico said. “We will have a lot of guys back next year and we’ll be a lot better next year, with a little more experience.”
The ability of the Steelhawks to physically dominate at the point of attack was the big difference, according to Superior head coach Paul Orazietti.
“We had a couple of guys healthy on the offensive line that came back into the game,” Orazietti said. “That made a difference for us, that helped us get this win and that was the big difference for us. We had some healthy bodies back in offensive line and we were able to run the football effectively and consistently. And when we needed a run time off the clock we were able to churn it out and get first downs.”
Monico echoed similar sentiments from his perspective.
“We have to get a little tougher next year, get a little stronger and get in the weight room a little bit more,” Monico said. “Size and toughness, at the end of the day, today we couldn’t answer the bell in that regard. Hats off to Superior, I thought they played a really good game.”
The Knights had nearly two full weeks of practice prior to the semifinal, the 3-0 loss to the Knights in early October a not so pleasant reminder during the 13-day lead up to the game.
Orazietti thought his offence moved the ball well in the three-point loss, but couldn’t convert drives into points, failing to convert in the redzone at every opportunity. Part of the two weeks of practice was spent devising and scheming ways to get the ball in the endzone.
The ‘Hawks scored three touchdowns in the redzone on Friday night.
“Our redzone play was much better. We scored in the first two possessions, the first two times we were down in the redzone,” Orazietti said. “Late in the game, when we needed it, we got in the redzone again and we scored. I was happy we translated all of our drives into touchdowns or points. Not all of them, but most of them.”
Steelhawks quarterback Gabe Barkley scored on a one-yard keeper in the second quarter and Breton hit paydirt with a five-yard run, making the score 13-8 at the half.
The Knights lone major of the night came in the second quarter on a long pitch and catch, Knights signal caller Kyle Scarfone hooking up with Daniel Bumbacco for the major in the second quarter.
Breton added two more majors in the second half to finish up the scoring for the victors, as the head coach now ponders his next moves, actions he hopes can get the ‘Hawks past the undefeated Colts.
“Korah is an outstanding program, they are excellent and we’re going to have our hands full,” Orazietti said. “They are super physical, really well coached and they’ve got a great program with lots of tradition. So, we just have be us and try to get better and that’s it.”