Written by Kennedy Harvey, Sports Information Assistant
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, ON — The Carleton Ravens football team won its third straight game on Friday afternoon, improving to 5-2 in 2016 with a 53-10 victory over the Windsor Lancers in the team’s regular season home finale.
Carleton was dominant on both sides of the ball, and despite 13 penalties – two of which called off Ravens touchdowns – the Ravens came out on top.
Carleton’s defence started the first quarter by forcing the Lancers into a quick two and out, leading to a Windsor safety. The Ravens also got a single rouge point on a punt, giving them a 3-0 lead over the visitors early in the quarter.
Midway through the first, Ravens kick returner Tunde Adeleke (Ottawa, ON) broke through the Windsor special teams defence on his way to a punt return touchdown, but an illegal block was called, denying him of a score.
The Ravens got another rouge to bring the score to 4-0 for Carleton going into the second quarter.
The Windsor Lancers found their way on the board with a 25-yard field goal by Clark Green and not long after they added a rouge point to tie the game, 4-4.
Carleton’s next possession included a pass from quarterback Jesse Mills (Halifax, NS) to Wilson Birch (Niagara Falls, ON) for a 28-yard gain, before Mills threw to a wide open Nate Behar (London, ON) for 15 yards and the first touchdown of the game. Carleton regained the lead, 11-7.
Soon after, a Lancers turnover recovered by Carleton linebacker Kene Onyeka (Brampton, ON) allowed the Ravens to move downfield, however, a couple of Ravens penalties forced them to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Mike Domagala (St. Catharines, ON). The Ravens led by seven late in the first half.
Just before the intermission, Adeleke had another chance to shine, and the fourth-year playmaker would not be denied this time around as he broke through several tackles on his way to a 106-yard punt return touchdown, his fifth of the season.
Carleton led Windsor 21-7 at the break.
The Ravens continued to increase their lead early in the third quarter as Jayde Rowe (Scarborough, ON) contributed a few carries to bring the ball downfield. Mills had another big pass to Birch for 38 yards before Kyle VanWynsberghe (Delhi, ON) added to the Ravens score with a 16-yard pass from Mills. Carleton pulled ahead, 28-7.
Trying to catch up, Kaeden Walls of the Lancers returned Domagala’s punt 71 yards to the Carleton 25-yard line. The Ravens defence held talented running back Terence Crawford, and put pressure on quarterback Casey Wright. Windsor was forced to kick a field goal, decreasing the gap, 28-10.
The next drive was all Ravens running backs. Nathan Carter (Ottawa, ON) had three carries to start, bringing the ball a total of 36 yards downfield. Starting running back Rowe returned to the field and continued to move the sticks. He pushed through the Windsor defence for his first touchdown of the game on a 1-yard scramble. The Ravens pulled away, 35-10, over the Lancers to end the third quarter.
Carleton’s multitalented offence was relentless as they continued to put points on the board in the fourth. Rowe had several carries for the Ravens, while Birch, Behar, and receiver Dexter Brown (Sherwood Park, AB) came down with catches, before Nathan Carter crossed the plane of the goal line for another Ravens touchdown. Carleton 42, Windsor 10.
Domagala brought the Ravens score to 46 with his second field goal of the game, and another rouge point.
In the final minute, Ravens receiver Phil Iloki (Ottawa, ON) caught an 11-yard pass from backup quarterback Tanner Dejong (Brockville, ON). For both, it was a special moment as Iloki scored his first CIS touchdown, while Dejong had the first passing touchdown of his young career.
The Ravens defence limited Windsor to only 231 yards on the day, the Lancers lowest offensive yardage output of the season.
“Early on, we were playing some different fronts,” said Ravens head coach Steve Sumarah. “Then in the second half we switched to a 50 front. We really tried to load up the tackle box, and I think the guys were playing much more confidently at that point. We ended up getting some stops.”
Linebacker Kene Onyeka reflected on the team’s stellar effort on the defensive side of the ball.
“We feel like we have the players to make the plays that are needed” said linebacker, Kene Onyeka. “The D-linemen fired off low, they held the gaps, and played how they are supposed to. Our coaches put us in the right spots to make plays, and I guess today we just made plays.”
Coach Sumarah also talked about the major contribution his second unit gave in the fourth quarter.
“When you have an opportunity to show depth, and other people can be contributing factors, it puts a lot of strain on the opposing team. This turned out to be one of those games for us where we got lots of guys touches on the ball and they made plays.”
While the team clearly had a big run, there was still room for improvement, especially in terms of the number of penalties taken.
“That was disheartening to have penalties taken at inopportune times,” said Sumarah. “It was a little frustrating to say the least, and obviously it is something we have to address as we move forward, if we want to continue on in playoffs.”
With the win, Carleton had guaranteed themselves a playoff spot in the loaded OUA conference. The Ravens receive a bye in Week 8 of the conference scheduled before heading down to Waterloo to compete with the Warriors in the final regular season game. While the Warriors remain winless on the campaign, Carleton will still have be at their best as they have plenty riding on the outcome, including an opportunity to host a home playoff game later this month.
RAVENS PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Offence – #12 Kyle Van Wynsberghe, REC – 4th year – Delhi, ON
Defence – #44 Leon Cenerini, LB – 4th year – La Salle, MB
Special Teams – #4 Mike Domagala, K/P – 4th year – St. Catharines, ON
OUA Week 8 – Bye
OUA Week 9
Carleton at Waterloo
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – 1 p.m.
Warrior Field – Waterloo, ON