After a two-year absence to to field repairs and improvements, the 10th annual Bubba Bowl returned to the field at Point Park in Sydenham last Friday. The Junior Sydenham High School Golden Eagles won 30-7 while a very young senior side fell 28-7.
The Bubba Bowl is held annually to honour Alex (Bubba) Turcotte, a former player who died of heart disease before he got to play his final season at SHS.
The opponents this year were the LaSalle Secondary School Black Knights.
The senior Knights were a force to be reckoned with, featuring several very large human beings and plenty of experience.
However, despite being over matched size- and experience-wise, the Golden Eagles made a game of it when they came out in the second half.
Down 14-0, running back Simon Cook went on a tear, including one 72-yard run and after a couple of LaSalle fumbles, quarterback Ray Whitehead completed a scoring pass to wideout Nick Vankoughnett.
However, both Whitehead and Vankoughnett went down to injuries and it was pretty much all LaSalle after that. The Knights scored a pair of touchdowns in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.
“You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of,” head coach Jim Latimer told his team after the game. “There was elevated intensity on every play.
“But come playoff time, we have to be even better. Nobody’s going to want to see us in the playoffs.”
Latimer himself even admitted to feeling hopeful as the second half began.
“But then we had three major injuries and our guys are so young.”
Still, most of those young guys made it to the finals in junior last year and they’re getting the hang of the senior game.
On the junior side, it was pretty much all Sydenham as Dain Bailey led the way with three touchdowns, two of which came in the opening frame. Chad Branscombe also scored a major and Owen O’Mera added a field goal and three converts.
Coach Karl Hammer said quarterback Jack Richards is “really establishing himself — he’s a great thinker in panic situations. He seems to see things happening.”
Hammer said on defence, middle linebacker Vince Pople is “certainly coming into his own.”
The fact that Hammer’s opposing head coach on this night was his dad (also Karl) was secondary to him as his team performed on both sides of the ball.
“It was a great team effort,” he said. “We didn’t have to leave our starters in and our backups got in some great reps.
“They’re starting to understand this game.”