The Gators maintained their undefeated season, improving to 9-0 with a 44-12 win over Avon View on Nov. 16 in Cambridge.
The final score was a little misleading; Avon View ran the opening kickoff of the second half back for a touchdown to make it 14-12 Gators.
After that, according to Gators’ head coach Larry Priestnall, “our defence found their game, and our offence started moving the ball.”
As a result, Central Kings scored 30 unanswered points in the second half.
Ben Best finished with four touchdowns, three on rushing plays and one on a punt return. Matt Priestnall had a touchdown, as well as doing a great job blocking for Best, while Eric Holliefield caught a touchdown pass from Connor Ross.
Tommy Daniels rounded out the scoring with five converts and a field goal.
“(Avon View) played us hard, for the whole game, every time we played them this year,” Priestnall said. The scores were relatively lopsided, he added, but it wasn’t from any lack of effort on the part of the Avalanche.
NKEC tops West Kings
NKEC, meanwhile, turned the tables on West Kings, topping the Wolverines 14-7 Nov. 15 in Auburn. West Kings had won the two previous meetings between the two, 33-6 in Canning and 9-7 the previous week in Auburn, to earn home field.
In the semifinal, played on a mostly snow-covered field, it was the Titans who got the early jump, with Jon Main finding Michael MacBurnie for a touchdown pass. Hugo Couvert’s convert made it 7-0 NKEC.
Before the first half was over, the Titans scored again. This time, Allan Bond found the end zone on a quarterback option play. Again, Couvert added the convert for a 14-0 NKEC lead at the half.
West Kings responded in the second half, making it 14-7 on a converted touchdown, quarterback Kyle Gordon doing the scoring on a quarterback keeper.
Both teams slugged it out for most of the remainder of the game, with little success offensively as both defenses came up big.
Thanks to a long run from Gordon on an option play, the Wolverines made it deep into NKEC territory in the final minute, but ended up turning the ball over on downs. Bond took a knee on consecutive plays, and the game was over.
“We didn’t bring our ‘A ‘game today until it was too late,” West Kings head coach Aaron Evans said. “It’s disappointing, but to go from 0-8 (last year) to 5-3 speaks volumes for what this team has done this season.”
NKEC coach Reg Ogilvie, who had said after the previous week’s game he would be looking for better execution from his players, termed it “an awesome game.”
As Ogilvie had predicted, “execution was the key,” and he got it from his entire team. “Our defence was lights out, our special teams were great, and Hugo punted very well. We still have some work to do on our offence, but a win is a win.”
NKEC and Central Kings will meet Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. at Acadia to decide the Division 3 championship, in what will be the final high school football game of the season.
Priestnall was looking for a good game.
“It would have been a good game no matter which team (NKEC or West Kings) won,” he added. “The team that executes with the fewest mistakes will be the team that wins.”
While playing football outdoors this time of year is a challenge, he said, “the turf is a great equalizer, and cold is cold. Both teams have to deal with it.”