The EDSS senior boys’ football squad made history this week as they head to the Waterloo Country Secondary School Athletics Association (WCSSAA) finals for the first time in 13 years.
Battling against the Waterloo Collegiate Institute in the semi-finals Monday, the team emerged victorious by a narrow 7-6 margin. The Lancers will be heading to Cambridge this Saturday for a final showdown against the five-time defending champions of the league, Jacob Hespeler Secondary School.
It’s the first time the EDSS senior team has made it to the finals since football returned to the school 13 years ago, said head coach Steve Karn. The boys are now just a stone’s throw away from moving up to the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association (CWOSSA) regionals.
“Things are going really well for the football boys,” said Karn, who founded the team. “It’s been a long time coming, but we’re there. We finally made it to the final game. The kids are pretty excited.
“[It’s] the end of the line. The first time I started the program 13 years ago, we never had football here, and this is the first time we’ve made it to that final game. We’ve had some close calls, last year we lost in the semis in overtime, so we redeemed ourselves this year.”
The reversal of fortune in the semi-finals came courtesy of a last-minute Hail Mary play and a run to the end zone by receiver Jacob Gingrich.
“Monday night when we played WCI, it was like a back-and-forth battle, for sure. And at the end of the game there was 19 seconds left when we scored the touchdown,” said Karn. “We got to the 40-yard line, and time was ticking, so we threw sort of a Hail Mary pass to the right, and my receiver came all the way across the field and made a great catch and ran it in.”
The Lancers’ next stop is the county final Saturday at Jacob Hespeler in Cambridge for a 1 p.m. showdown. Only one team will be able to move on to the CWOSSA, however, and Karn is encouraging fans to come out and lend their support.
“They’re the five-time defending champs, haven’t lost a game in five years,” said Karn. “It’s a steep task, but you know what? Our guys, they’re tough, and they’re going to work their tails off that’s for sure. They’re not going to give it to them. There’s always lots of upsets in the world of sports, so it’s nice being the underdog.”
Poor weather is in the forecast for this Saturday’s game, which Karn sees as an advantage for the his team. Jacob Hespeler has a strong passing team, notes the coach, but they’re going to have a challenging time working their advantage in a headwind, while the Lancers have the edge in shutting down the runs.
“We never roll over, that’s for sure. Our guys will play hard right to the last whistle,” he added.