Avery Austin TD lifts East Elgin over previously undefeated St. Joes, 20-14
October 27, 2023
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - The East Elgin Eagles love waiting until the last minute.
The Eagles scored a touchdown in the dying seconds of each half, the second major with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Avery Austin busted into the end zone, to lift the Eagles over the St. Joseph's Rams, 20-14, in a Thames Valley Regional Athletics (TVRA) junior football quarterfinal, October 26 at 1Password Park.
"We are excited about this," Eagles' head coach Matt Ninness said. "We were confident we could control the line of scrimmage and had a formula that was working all day, mixing it running inside and running outside. Our o-line played a heck of a game and we just kept going with that."
After a scoreless opening quarter, St. Joe's found the scoreboard first on a Demarei Maitland TD in the second quarter and led 7-0, following the Curtis Correia extra point.
East Elgin pulled to within a point on an Evan Baldwin TD, scoring with just three seconds left in the first half. The extra point attempt was missed.
"The fight. The fight right to the end," said Ninness. "We made a big score right before the half and at the end, we just gutted it out and had a lot of heart."
In the second half, St. Joe's added a single for a 8-6 lead, before the Eagles took a 13-8 lead, on a Matt Worrall TD and extra point kicked by Andres Boldt.
The Rams advancing seemed promising after Aiden Constable put his team up 14-13, scoring a touchdown with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
"We've been a good group," Ninness said. "We've never gotten too high or too low all year. We've been down a lot, so I think we're kind of used to responding to adversity and those type of situations from earlier in the season."
Boldt added the extra point to Austin's winning TD.
Playing the undefeated Rams, 5-0 during the regular season, didn't faze the Eagles.
"It's sometimes nice being the underdog, in the sense all of the pressure is on the other team. We relish that role a little bit," Ninness said. "We were quietly confident. We had some things we could do and thought we could match up well against the interior of their line."
Eagles' lineman Cam Vermeer stood tall making space for teammates.
"He was able to control push in there and make sure our running backs got some daylight to run," Ninness said. "Cam is a heck of a football player."
East Elgin (4-2) faces Tillsonburg Glendale (5-1) in the semifinals, Thursday, November 2, 11 a.m at 1Password park.
Glendale won the regular season meeting between the schools from neighbouring communities, 29-6, September 28 at East Elgin.
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