The St. Clair Saints hoisted the Teddy Morris Memorial Trophy and successfully defended their Ontario Football Conference title on Saturday night, beating the London Beefeaters 32-31. The final few drama-packed minutes kept fans from both teams on the edge of their seats. The Saints, determined to defend their title as reigning champions, were facing their rival Beefeaters for the fourth consecutive time in the OFC Final.
The atmosphere was electric as Acumen Stadium in Windsor on the grounds of St. Clair College was filled with fans from both teams. The game kicked off with an intensity that matched the anticipation, as both teams engaged in a tight and back-and-forth defensive battle throughout the first half. At halftime, the teams were deadlocked 8-8, setting the stage for an epic second half.
As the game progressed, London managed to seize the lead, going up 18-15 after three quarters of play. However, St. Clair was not about to let their championship hopes slip away. The Saints scored on the opening play of the fourth quarter, capturing their first lead of the game at 22-18. The Saints then extended their lead to 25-18 with just 5:20 remaining in the game after a crucial field goal.
But then, the Beefeaters tied the game at 25 with just 1:46 left on the clock. The Saints countered with a quick drive that ended in a touchdown, putting them ahead 32-25 with just 1:26 left in the game.
London's LJ Dyer returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, sparking hope for the Beefeaters. In a series of plays, London’s Geoffrey Clubine managed to find the end zone once again, narrowing the score to 32-31.
In a daring move, the Beefeaters decided to attempt a two-point conversion to take the lead. They ran a quarterback boot and attempted a pass to an eligible offensive lineman in a trick play that left fans on the edge of their seats. However, the pass narrowly missed its target, Dante Colaiacovo, keeping the score at 32-31 with only 50 seconds remaining.
With London forced to kick off, they attempted an onside kick and successfully recovered the ball, giving them a lifeline. A completed pass brought the Beefeaters within striking distance near the Saints' 20-yard line. On second and eight from the Saints' 22-yard line, London handed the ball off to Clubine, who surged through the offensive line and into the secondary. However, a critical fumble on the four-yard line, sent the ball bouncing into the end zone, where St. Clair recovered to seal their victory.
With the clock ticking down, the Saints took over and entered victory formation, kneeling out the remaining seconds. The final score stood at St. Clair 32 - London 31, as St. Clair celebrated their second consecutive OFC Final win.
St Clair will now advance and travel to the CJFL national semi-final next Sunday October 29th where they will face the Prairie Conference Champions for a chance to play in the CJFL Canadian Bowl.