General Amherst Bulldogs

Bulldogs capture WECSSAA Tier 3 football title with thrilling victory

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior football team finished atop the WECSSAA Tier 3 division thanks to a 21-16 win Friday night.

The Bulldogs finished the season a perfect 7-0 after defeating the Tecumseh Vista Academy Vortex, the latter team also entering the game undefeated. The game, played in Tecumseh, saw the Bulldogs arrive late due to a busing issue but when they arrived, they were more than ready to go.

General Amherst scored on their first two possessions, the first set up by a bad snap on a Tecumseh Vista Academy punt attempt which allowed the Bulldogs to start the drive on the Vortex 23 yard line. That drive was capped with a three-yard touchdown run by quarterback Emmitt Rosati.

The second drive, also in the first quarter, was finished by running back Levi Reaume, who found the end zone from one yard out. That drive began after the Bulldogs defense stuffed the Vortex on a third down play and caused the ball to be turned over on downs.

General Amherst’s Levi Reaume celebrates after a first quarter touchdown Friday night at Tecumseh Vista
Academy.

After a four-yard touchdown run by Tecumseh Vista Academy in the second quarter made it a 14-7 game, the Bulldogs restored their 14-point advantage thanks to Rosati’s second touchdown of the night, this one being a one-yard quarterback sneak into the end zone.

Preston Muzzin converted all three Bulldog touchdowns.

Tecumseh Vista Academy tried to come back and put up nine points in the third quarter. The first two points came via a safety as General Amherst committed a holding penalty in their own end zone. Shortly after that, Vista got a two-yard touchdown run of their own to make it 21-16.

Though the home team could get no closer, they did make it interesting. After Vista’s offense and General Amherst penalties moved the ball deep into the Bulldogs’ territory with just under four minutes to play in the game, the Bulldogs were able to recover a fumble to stall Tecumseh’s drive. Big runs by Reaume not only moved the ball the other direction, but also helped to run out the clock and clinch the win and the division title for General Amherst.

“It’s a terrific feeling,” Reaume said after the game.

Reaume noted they rebounded after a tough 0-6 season in 2017 to a perfect season this year.

Brayden LeClerc breaks tackles of Tecumseh Vista Academy defenders after making a catch.

“It goes to show what happens when we work hard, focus and are dedicated,” he said.

The Bulldogs wanted to make sure they finished the job, he indicated, and Reaume also pointed out that it was the last drive of their high school careers for the senior players.

“This is what you are going to remember,” he said. “You are not going to remember 6-1.”

Defensive co-ordinator Joel Charron also pointed out it was a great win for the Bulldogs, especially for those players who suffered through last season.

“It’s a great win for them,” said Charron. “It’s great for the players. I’m really happy for the kids.”

Charron was pleased with how the defense played and noted they ran the ball well on offense as well.

General Amherst quarterback Emmitt Rosati gets hit as he throws during the Nov. 2 win over Tecumseh Vista Academy.

Head coach John Rudak, sopping wet after the game after having the bucket of ice water dumped on him in celebration, said the team dubbed the game the “Dave Scott Bowl,” in memory of the legendary General Amherst coach who died in Sept. 2017.

“It turned out really well. I hope he was watching,” said Rudak.

The strong start resonated on the Bulldogs’ bench, as Rudak noted the players were feeling good about themselves. However, he knew that Tecumseh Vista Academy “had a lot left” and that showed in the second half. Rudak said the Bulldogs seemingly tried to lose the game at some points with the number of penalties they took but the turnover late helped salvage the win.

This year’s Bulldogs senior team was a combination of senior and junior players and Rudak hopes to restore both junior and senior teams as early as next season. That will help make the football program more sustainable at General Amherst.

“Hopefully the enthusiasm of winning brings more players out,” he said. “That’s our objective – to play at a high level.”

The General Amherst Bulldogs celebrate after a 21-16 win
Friday at Tecumseh Vista Academy (above). The win gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 record and the division title.

Whether there will be one or two teams will be known next August, Rudak added, stating he can field a senior team if there are at least 25 players.

This year’s team saw fewer missed practices by the players, he added, as only work and school commitments kept them away.

Rudak also thanked his coaching staff for their work this past season, stating it was the largest staff he has ever had as a coach.

“I value all of their insight,” said Rudak.

For more photos from the football game between General Amherst and Tecumseh Vista Academy, please visit our Facebook album.

Bulldogs volleyball season ends, though coach happy with progress

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys volleyball season has ended, but the team’s coach was happy with how they progressed this season.

The Bulldogs didn’t put a senior team on the court last season, so this year’s team re-entered WECSSAA Tier 1 play with a young lineup. Their final regular season game was last Tuesday night at home versus the visiting Sandwich Sabres and the Bulldogs lost two sets to one. The Bulldogs lost the first set 25-18, and got down 9-0 in the second set before making it close though they lost 25-19. The Bulldogs won the third set 25-21.

Mason Foreman (15) tips the ball over the net during General Amherst’s match with Sandwich Oct. 30.

“We did pretty well,” said General Amherst coach Craig Lohnes. “They played well. We did a great job. I think the key for our players is passing. If we can pass, we can get set up in the middle and be a better team.”

The Bulldogs played well defensively, he believed, and Lohnes noted the Bulldogs players take pride in not letting the ball hit the floor.

“I’d say it is steady progress,” he said last Wednesday of his team’s performance this season.

Lohnes said the goal was to “finish better than we started” and believes they have done that. He noted the Bulldogs are a group of Grade 11 players who are improving.

“We look pretty good for next year,” said Lohnes. “Hopefully they have learned from this year and get better.”

General Amherst’s Riley Sesto (11) goes up for a block during last Tuesday’s game against Sandwich.

There are also some good junior-aged players that could also infuse more talent into the Bulldogs.

General Amherst started the playoffs last Thursday at Brennan, but the host Cardinals put an end to the Bulldogs’ season. The Cardinals defeated the Bulldogs 25-22, 25-22 and 25-19 in the first round of the WECSSAA “AA” playoffs.

 

Bulldogs eke out road win at Brennan

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs improved to 4-0 on the season last Thursday afternoon by the smallest margin of victory possible.

The Bulldogs held on and defeated the Brennan Cardinals 22-21 in a game played at Brennan. The Cardinals trailed 22-12 early in the fourth quarter but a field goal and a touchdown put them within one point. General Amherst’s Calvin Cribley chose a fine time for his second interception of the game, as that came on the two-point attempt late in the game on the Cardinals’ last touchdown and allowed the Bulldogs to hang on for the win.

Emmitt Rosati (7, black jersey) throws a pass during the Oct. 11 win at Brennan.

Both teams scored on their opening drives with Bulldogs’ quarterback Emmitt Rosati going up the middle for a three-yard touchdown run but Brennan tied it on the next series with a 23-yard touchdown pass.

The only other first half scoring was a single by Brennan off of a punt to make in 8-7 at the half. The Cardinals added another rouge off of a missed 40-yard field goal early in the third quarter to go up 9-7 but the Bulldogs answered back as running back Levi Reaume scored on a seven-yard run and then found the end zone on the two-point attempt to put General Amherst up 15-9.

Brennan would get a 23-yard field goal before the third quarter was out to make it a 15-12 game but Rosati had a four-yard run in the fourth quarter to make it 22-12. Matteo Gugliotta made all converts he attempted for the Bulldogs.

Levi Reaume finds room to run during the second half of General Amherst’s 22-21 win at Brennan Oct. 11.

The Cardinals got the next nine points but could get no closer.

“It felt good. We played pretty hard,” said Reaume after the game. “Our offense played pretty well. We executed and ran the ball well.”

Reaume called the one-point victory “a great confidence booster” as the team knows it can win a tight game.

“We’re confident in our ability for the rest of the season,” said Reaume.

General Amherst head coach John Rudak said four Bulldog turnovers made the game tighter than it should have been, but credited his players for doing a good job and picking up the win.

“We did everything we could do and did a good job,” he said.

Rudak said both the offensive and defensive lines played well and agreed that the Bulldogs get a “huge amount of confidence” going into the rest of the season.

Brennan’s Dante Daniels fights off four Bulldog defenders during Amherst’s 22-21 victory.

“Hopefully that carries over into the Blenheim game,” said Rudak.

The win over Brennan was “definitely one of the most exciting games from a fan and coaching perspective.”

The game against the Brennan Bobcats will be Thursday at 3 p.m. at Centennial Park. It will be the final regular season home game of the year for the Bulldogs, who then close the regular season with two games on the road.

For more photos from the Brennan game, visit our Facebook album.

Bulldogs win season opener against Cardinal Carter

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs are already doing better this season than they did last year.

The Bulldogs finished 0-6 at both the senior and junior levels in 2017 but took a combined team to the Libro Centre last Thursday night and won 24-14 over the Cardinal Carter Cougars.

The teams played a scoreless first quarter but General Amherst scored three of the four touchdowns in the second quarter. Quarterback Emmitt Rosati connected with wide receiver Calvin Cribley on a 23-yard touchdown pass off of a fake field goal to open the scoring. After a 56-yard touchdown run by Cardinal Carter tied it, Rosati scored from two-yards out to put General Amherst up 14-7.

Rosati and Cribley hooked up again right before the second quarter ended, this time on a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7 Bulldogs at the half.

General Amherst quarterback Emmitt Rosati dashes through a hole during second half action in his team’s 24-14 win over the Cardinal Carter Cougars Sept. 20.

Bulldogs’ kicker Matteo Gugliotta, who successfully converted all three touchdowns, booted a 26-yard field goal in the third quarter to put General Amherst up 24-7 but the Cougars scored on a 72-yard pass play later in the third to make it a 24-14 game.

Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.

Cribley admitted to being “a little bit nervous” but believes he played well. He believed there were too many mistakes and that he has to cut down on them. As for his touchdowns, Cribley said he ran his routes and that Rosati got him the football.

General Amherst head coach John Rudak pointed out how big it was to get the win.

“That was a very important win for the program,” he said. “Last year, our team barely survived the season.”

The Bulldogs had about “nine or ten” Grade 9 players quit the team because they were worried about going against much larger players, said Rudak, but he hoped they would return next year to help the future of the football program at Amherst. General Amherst would like to eventually return to having junior and senior teams, Rudak added, but pointed out six of the eight teams in the WECSSAA Tier 3 division are combined teams.

General Amherst’s Eric Blanchette (11) avoids a Cardinal Carter tackler on his way up the field last Thursday night.

There were some “first game jitters” against Cardinal Carter, Rudak said. There were instances where there were either too many players on the field or not enough and Rudak said they also have to be more aggressive. He said their leaders stepped up and played well.

For more photos from the Sept. 20 senior football game, click here.

The Bulldogs next game is this Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. versus Lajeunesse. That game will be at Centennial Park.

Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team has advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” finals.

The Bulldogs won the third and deciding game of their best-of-three semi-final series with the Essex Red Raiders thanks to a 5-1 victory Monday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The teams played a scoreless first period but second period goals from Cole Zelle, Isaac Hammond and Josh DiCarlo put the Bulldogs in command heading for the third. Max Clifford’s two third period goals sandwiched Essex’s only goal and put the game away for the Bulldogs.

“That’s more like it,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett. “It’s nice to move on and be in the finals.”

General Amherst forward Brock Beaudoin attempts a wraparound during the first game of the best-of-three series vs. Essex. Amherst lost Game 1 3-2 but won the series with wins in Game 2 (2-1 in OT) and Game 3 (5-1).

The Bulldogs are one step closer to OFSAA, and Garrett said he would like the Bulldogs to advance to the provincial tournament especially for the younger players who haven’t already been there.

Zelle said it felt good to advance.

“After we lost the first game, we came in focused in the next game and we knew we could beat them,” said Zelle. “Today, once we got the first (goal), all the guys were rolling.”

The Bulldogs are playing with confidence and Zelle added “we’re ready for whoever comes next.”

Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final.

A third game was necessary thanks to a three-minute stretch of the third period in Game 1 last Wednesday in Amherstburg. After Lee Sinasac and DiCarlo gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after two periods in that game, Essex scored twice in the first 40 seconds of the third period of that game and another just moments later to take the lead and eventually win 3-2.

“Everyone got back on their heels,” Garrett said. “I still think we had a lot of opportunities in the third. I think we outshot them.”

General Amherst tied the series last Thursday in Essex thanks to a 2-1 overtime win. DiCarlo scored 1:29 into overtime to give the Bulldogs the win with Hammond scoring the other goal.

“It feels good. We talked about getting to the finals all year,” DiCarlo said after Game 2. “We were prepared for the game. It helped a lot.”

DiCarlo said they played well defensively, limited Essex’s scoring chances and tightened up their game.

The Bulldogs will play the winner of the Belle River-L’Essor series, with Game 1 scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Amherstburg.