Sault Sabercats lose in Ontario Summer Football League action

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The man who patrolled the sideline with a skin’s worth of the playoffs was graceful and complimentary in defeat.

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The Sault Sabercats closed out the season with a 39-0 loss to the Hamilton Junior Ticats in the Ontario Summer Football League playoffs at McMaster University on Saturday afternoon.

“The Ticats are a very tough opponent, a very good team,” said head coach Matt Premo. “They probably come from the toughest division in the league, and even though they finished fourth in the division (South AAA), they could be one of the best teams in the whole league.”

Following Premo’s point, five of the clubs in the six-team Southern Division won its playoff opener, while in the Northern Division AAA, where the ‘Cats currently reside, four of the six teams lost in victory. or in action back home. The Cumberland Panthers and Cornwall Wildcats were the only teams from the North to pick up wins.

The start was not good, not bright, with the blue and gold trailing in double digits after 12 minutes and 22-0 at halftime.

“We started off a bit slow because we had a few touchdowns quite early and we struggled with the position on the court (because) we couldn’t get the ball across the court to give ourselves a chance to score. said Premo.

As noted by Premo. the poor position on the field in itself limited the game calling offensive coordinator Jamie Antonello.

“You don’t want to be too aggressive in your own area, you limit yourself that way because you don’t want to return the ball and you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you might give up a safety, or something like that,” Premo said “You try not to be too predictable as a play caller, but that limits you a bit in what you can do if you don’t want to return the ball.”

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The blue and gold have been shut out once this season, a 6-0 forfeit loss to the Kingston Gaels Juniors in Week 5. Overall, the ‘Cats averaged 21.2 points per game.

“We had an injury to (running back) Ronan Provenzano at the start of the game, the first quarter, which really limited our offensive attack because we were limited to a lot of shots and they have a very good defense, a good pass defense,” says Prémo.

Lead running back Michael Nicoletta did not participate as the Bishop’s University representative was out after injuring his hand during the third quarter of the final regular season game against the Cumberland Panthers.

Sometimes past results can be indicative of future performance, with the ‘Cats behaving, in some ways, much the same as they have all season.

Turnovers have been a problem since the start of the season, a 21-17 road loss to the Brantford Bisons, two turnovers leading to a pair of touchdowns. In the home opener, the club turned the ball over four times in a 21-15 loss to the Myers Riders, a fourth-quarter fumble inside the Riders 10-yard line proved the more crucial.

“In the end, (the Ticats) won the turnover battle, which is usually a good sign,” Premo said. “If you win this battle, you are going to win the game.”

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