Atoms team takes home provincial championship
The Niagara Generals football program may not have been well-known last year but, in Ontario minor football circles this season, they certainly have everyone’s attention.
The minor football program giving Niagara kids ages nine to 14 the chance to play competitive rep football in the 11- team Central Ontario Minor Football League (COMFL) was started last year by Fort Erie resident Dave Sauer.
The Generals are made up of kids from Fort Erie, Welland, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls who play summer football in the Niagara Regional Minor Football Association.
Top players from these teams come together to play as Niagara Generals to take on teams from the Greater Toronto area, Hamilton and Burlington in Ontario’s most competitive league.
The Generals practice and play at the new Kiwanis Field in St. Catharines.
The Generals have three teams which includes the atoms, ages nine to 10, the peewees, ages 11 to 12 and Bantam, ages 13-14… all of which play in COMFL.
In its second year of existence, the minor football program has had success beyond expectations this season.
The Atom Generals recently finished their regular season undefeated with an 8- 0 record then went on to beat Ajax-Pickering 48-0 in the league semi-finals.
On Nov. 6, the atoms took on the defending provincial champion, Burlington Stampeders, in the COMFL Championship game at Esther Shiner Stadium in North York.
Supported by a large and loud crowd of supporters, the atoms won a thrilling 21-12 game to take the league title.
Touchdowns by Daniel Clarke of St. Catharines and Gerrid Holton and Connor Adams of Welland sealed the win along with a total team effort in all facets of the game, says the coaching staff.
With this league title, the atoms advanced to the T. Litzen Bowl AAA Provincial Championship game on Nov. 12 in Markham where they faced the South Ontario Champion Cambridge Wolverines.
The atoms thrashed Cambridge 36-6 to take the AAA Provincial Football Championship, backed by a dominating defence and touchdown runs from Gerrid Holton, Daniel Clarke and Connor Adams.
Head Coach Dave Sauer was thrilled with the effort and dedication shown by all 35 players and families during the season —to be rewarded with an undefeated season and provincial title was well deserved.
“The kids, coaches and parents committed themselves fully to this and it paid off…the kids have practiced extremely hard for months and brought their game to the highest level….I couldn’t be more proud of this group,” said Sauer.
The Peewee Generals finished their regular season with a sparkling 7-1 record and followed that with a 27-10 victory over Ajax-Pickering in the semi-finals.
The peewees took on the Burlington Stampeders in the COMFL Championship game and came up short, losing 30-28 in a heartbreaking loss.
Jacob Andrews and Cameron Celetti led the way offensively for the peewees, combining for four touchdowns.
They advanced to the Litzen Bowl third place match against the Cambridge Wolverines and came out victorious with a 16-6 win to finish an impressive third place in all of Ontario, on Nov. 12.
The Bantam Generals finished the regular season with an impressive 6 and 2 mark and followed this win a semi-final win over Brampton.?This win put all three Generals teams in the COMFL finals against the Burlington Stampeders.
The Bantams lost in a wild, high scoring game to Burlington and advanced to the Litzen Bowl third place game verses Mississauga.?The Bantams, came up a short, losing 30-22 to finish fourth overall in the province.
The Niagara Generals have shown that minor football in Niagara is definitely alive and well and the Niagara region has some of the best young football players in Ontario.
In addition to being a great sport, football teaches these kids the importance of team work, fitness, discipline, sportsmanship and dedication. Success measured with victories is a bonus.
For more information on the Niagara Generals, contact Dave Sauer at [email]email@example.com.?For information on playing Niagara summer house league football, go to [url]www.footballniagara.com.