By Adam Prudhomme
It was a real barn-burner for the NDSS Golden Hawks senior football team’s KASSAA season opener and homecoming, as they battled the Sydenham Golden Eagles in a tightly-contested game before ultimately falling short in a 21-10 loss.
The Golden Hawks held the lead until the final play of the third quarter, when a Sydenham touchdown swung the game in their favour, 14-10. They put it away for good with a 30-yard touchdown midway through the fourth, added to a touchback they kicked early in the quarter.
In the first half of the game it was a battle of kickers as the two clubs shook off the offseason rust in the season opener. Sydenham kicked a pair of field goals to build a 6-0 lead. After an unsuccessful attempt at the 20-yard line, NDSS’ Brock Vale connected late in the half with a field goal to cut the deficit to 6-3 heading into the half. Kiel Benton had a strong series, picking up a sack and then followed with an interception on the next play to help set up Napanee’s field goal.
NDSS took the lead early in the second half when Nic Nieman hit Drayton Cronk with a short pass. Cronk was able to break a pair of tackles and run in the touchdown while Vale added the extra point for a 10-6 lead.
The Hawks couldn’t hold it, however, and took the loss. They’ll look for a better finish on Thursday when they travel to Frontenac to face the Falcons for a 1:30 p.m. kick-off.
To celebrate their homecoming, NDSS had their sideline cheerleading squad on hand to fire up the large crowd. The school’s Hawkmobile, which was built by students in the auto program, was also parked along the sidelines. Wednesday’s game was their first of three scheduled home games on the year.
On the junior side, NDSS was shut out in their home opener as the Hawks lost 49-0 to the junior Golden Eagles in the second half of the double-header. The season got off to a bit of an inauspicious start when the Hawks were called for a fumble on the opening kickoff at the 20-yard line. The Hawks defence did redeem itself, however, stopping the Golden Eagles who opted to go for it on their final down despite being five yards out of the end zone. That decision didn’t cost them in the end; they had made than enough offence to secure the victory.
The juniors will also be in Frontenac on Thursday as they look to rebound from their rough start to the season. Both teams will travel to Ernestown for Week 3 and return home to host the Regi Panthers on Oct. 17.