Jock Talk with Joel Charron: Lady Gens and Bulldogs..OH MY!

Great things are happening at General Amherst right now.

If you have kept up with our sports section you would know what I’m talking about.

The Lady Gens are heading into Tier 1 playoffs once again the favorite to win their ninth straight WECSSA title.

Also the Sr. Bulldogs, who are fresh off a quarterfinal win over L’Essor seem poised to punch their ticket to the Wilson Conference Finals.

Let’s start with the Lady Gens.

Yes, the lady Gens are once again flirting with another undefeated season, but that’s not the remarkable part.

What’s so remarkable is that they are doing it with three of their starters on the bench. Christine Belcher and Jaylin VandeBovenkamp have missed time because of concussion and Grade 11 guard Sarah Bondy has missed substantial time with an annoying knee injury.

So how do the Lady Gens continue to win?

Although this may not be the most talented lady Gens team to wear the uniform, they surely have the most heart.

In the absences of Belcher, VandeBovenkamp and Bondy, unsung heroes have emerged.

Although I may have had my doubts in the beginning, Grade 9 point guard Aleah Marton and Grade 11 guard Rebecca Krug have proven to be diamonds in the rough. It’s not easy coming to a team that has such a history of winning but these two young stars have embraced the opportunity that has been given to them and have blossomed into something special. Toss in the intensity of Mackenzie Morencie, Karli Ficociello and Robin Kellam, this group of Lady Gens are making their own mark in the school’s history books.

I have to be honest, I had my doubts about Lindsay Kondracki before the start of the season and I am very happy to announce that those doubts have been completely washed away. Kondracki has stepped out of the shadows and been thrusted into the spotlight and has handled her new role beautifully. She controls the boards, is aggressive on defense and keeps the opponent’s post player in check.

Then there is Katie Breault.

After finding her stride in the senior game late last season, Breault has carried it over to this season and has become the dominant player I hoped she would become.

Her cool, calm demeanor guides the Lady Gens through rough patches in games and her warrior spirit wills them to victory. Breault has taken that step to the next level and challenges her teammates to join her…and they have answered.

Although Belcher, VandeBovenkamp and Bondy are surely missed the team is in good hands right now.

Now, the Sr. Bulldogs football team.

Granted that I’ve only been covering Amherst football for just over four seasons but this is by far the best Bulldog team that has taken the field.

They have all the intangibles to go all the way to OFSSA.

Let’s start on offense.

In all accounts, quarterback Mike Mallender hasn’t had the greatest season to date, and he knows it, which leaves me to believe that this talented pivot is due for a monster game.

However when you have running backs like Corey Bezaire and Spencer Petrozzi, you don’t need to throw the ball. Bezaire and Petrozzi are the perfect combination and everything you want your running backs to be.

Bezaire possesses great speed and vision. He’s elusive and strong. If there is an open lane to be found, Bezaire will find it, turn on the after burners and away he goes. With 12 majors on the year, Bezaire sits only three away from the school all-time rushing touchdown record.

If Bezaire is the right hook that softens you up, Petrozzi is the left uppercut that knocks you out. Simply put, Petrozzi is a beast. Give him the ball and watch him blast up the middle and drag opponents for 10 yards. Petrozzi doesn’t need a hole to run through because he makes his own hole.

If by some chance the running game gets shut down, Mallender has the receivers to get it done. Jeff Masson, Mitch Girard and Adam Robinson.  Masson and Girard have the height and strength to out muscle out any defender for the ball.

If there is a ball to be caught, Robinson is the guy to catch it. You merely have to throw it in his direction and Robinson will find a way to bring it in. The kid has had so many highlight reel catches TSN can do a Top 10 show on purely him.

And now the defense, or should I stay the backbone of this team.

Seven games (including playoffs) five shut outs and 21 points scored against.

This defense is mean. They will knock out down, pick you up and dust you off only to put you back onto the ground harder than then did before.

This is a defense that does not like to have yard gained on them and when teams do move the ball, this squad takes it as a personal insult and punishes their opponents with every bone crunching, teeth rattling, head spinning hit.

Chris Grondin controls the d-line with such intensity it makes me pity any running back who dares to thinks they can slip past this massive mound of flesh.

If by chance the get to the second shelf, linebackers Cory Gaunt and Aaron are waiting to put their helmet through the chest of the ball carrier.

Don’t let Harber’s size fool you, be may be five foot nothing but this kid knows how to channel his inner Ray Lewis. Gaunt is probably the best high school linebacker in the league. He has great football IQ, speed and strength. I can see this kid playing at the next level.

Once a team realizes they can’t run the ball they have to go to the air….where Mike McNorgan and Max Reiner are waiting

The Bulldogs secondary has the most athletic in the league. McNorgan has a pick in five straight games and is a major threat to run on back whenever he touches the ball. While Reiner hasn’t recorded an interception yet, it’s only a matter of time until one falls into his hands.

The next few weeks will be crucial to both teams as they look to win championship in their respective sports.

Could this be the year the Bulldogs finally get their championship and the Lady Gens their ninth straight?

Stay Tuned!!!



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