While the Elmira District Secondary School’s senior football team’s season was cut short November 4 with a 17-7 upset loss to Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School in the WCCSSA quarter-finals, head coach Steve Karn is proud of the squad’s effort this year.“It was one of the best seasons we have had in the A division, the elite division,” Karn said. “We lost the first game of the season, but they won the next five games in a row. That is probably the best we have ever done in the A division, to win five games. And we beat the team that’s going to play in the championship game.”
After falling 23-13 to perennial powerhouse Resurrection Catholic Secondary School to open the season, the group bounced back with an impressive winning streak.
The roll included a 42-7 thumping of Waterloo Collegiate Institute, a 35-10 rout over Bluevale Collegiate Institute, a 44-16 thrashing of St. David Catholic Secondary School, a 35-0 blowout of Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute, and a 29-28 squeaker over St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School.
But injuries caught up with them by the end of the regular season, muzzling their once ferocious offense.
In the final game against SJAM, the team scored its lowest point total of the season (7) on a touchdown by Alex Weber.
“We lost some key players to injury,” Karn said, noting ailments to star tailback Alex White and starting quarterback Jordan Frey among others. “It’s sad in some ways that it ended the way it did, but there are lots of positives in terms of individual efforts.”
White for example, had a four-game stretch where he scored 14 touchdowns, Karn said.
With strong, often punishing performances all season long, White and his backfield partner Weber have garnered attention from recruiters at the University of Waterloo, Karn added.
Passionate about football and high school athletics, Karn jump started the EDSS football program 10 years back.
“We were the only school in the county that didn’t have it,” he said. “It was time.”
A decade later, the love of football continues to grow in Elmira.
“We’ve always had good numbers and great support from the community,” Karn said. “The kids have really bought into it now, and it has become a 12 month thing. The guys come in and they’ve been working out during the off season and they are bigger and stronger and ready to go. And that means we are doing better.”
But it’s not all about the wins and losses, Karn said.
“There are a lot of positives that can come from football. You get a group of kids with all different shapes and sizes, speeds and abilities, and it allows everybody a chance to play. It brings a bunch of guys together, which is the key. And you learn a lot of good life lessons.”
As this year’s high school football season winds down, we asked this group of graduating EDSS players to share their most memorable experiences with the team
Favourite moment: Last year versus Sir John A. Macdonald, I had a four touch down game and we beat the defending champions.
Future plans: Maybe do some coaching.
Favourite moment: The last game of the season versus SJAM, we needed to fill in for injuries and play hardnosed football; we played through whatever came at us. It was the most fun of my life on the field.
Future plans: Undecided/Health Sciences
Middle Linebacker, Fullback
Favourite moment: The win against St. Benedicts. We were without our starting running back Alex White, but everyone played a great game and we came out on top. The team this year was very tight and we were there for each other on and off the field.
Future plans: Looking at university and I will definitely play football if I go. Kinesiology/high school teacher.
Favourite moment: In grade 10, we were down by 10 points against Grand River and I wasn’t starting on offense. In the last four minutes of the game, coach put me in for tail back and I got two touchdowns in a row in two plays and a kick-off.
Future plans: Hopefully get to play some football in university. I want to study mechanical engineering.
Wide Receiver, Defensive Back, Punt Return
Favourite moment: The game against St. Benedicts was a big win.
Future plans: Work full time and play club football