John Rudak

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 improve to 6-0 with shutout win vs. Riverside

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Six games, six wins for the General Amherst Bulldogs senior football team.

However, the most recent win wasn’t one of their prettiest.

The Bulldogs defeated Riverside 21-0 last Thursday night in a game played at Tecumseh Vista Academy. The game was scoreless at the half with General Amherst being stopped twice on third down plays in addition to turning the ball over three times in the half.

General Amherst’s Canyon Gooder (59) and Cole Brown (57) pursue the Riverside quarterback.

The offense got going in the third quarter when Emmitt Rosati and Brayden LeClerc each scored touchdowns, both of them being 11-yard runs. Levi Reaume added the Bulldogs’ third touchdown of the second half with a two-yard run in the fourth quarter.

LeClerc believed they came out “flat footed” in the first half and didn’t play as well as they are capable of.

“We focused more. We were more motivated in the second half,” he said. “We brought the sauce.”

The offensive line blocked well and allowed him to get the touchdown, LeClerc added, believing the line is playing well this season.

As for the 6-0 start, LeClerc said “it feels good, especially since we didn’t get a win last year.”

General Amherst head coach John Rudak said he spoke with his Riverside counterpart with the belief was that the Rebels had their best half of the season in last Thursday night’s football game. Rudak said it showed in their performance.

“They came out to play,” he said.

Calvin Cribley returns a punt for General Amherst during the Bulldogs’ 21-0 win over Riverside Oct. 25.

The three first half turnovers were “very costly,” said Rudak, and helped change momentum. However, the Bulldogs were able to take over in the second half.

“As the game wore on, we wore them down,” said Rudak, crediting the offensive and defensive lines.

“We had great lateral pressure from our linebackers and safeties to stop their run game,” he added.

Ben Sutherland is brought down after making a second half catch against Riverside.

The Bulldogs return to Tecumseh Vista Academy Friday at 5 p.m. to battle the host Vortex in a battle of 6-0 teams. It is the final game of the season for both and the winner will be division champions.

“The guys are very fired up,” said Rudak. “Vista ran it up on us last year. The guys on that team remember that. They are going to use it as incentive for this year’s game.”

Rudak said they are going to try and do what they do best, which is run behind the line and wear the other team down.

Bulldogs now 5-0 after defeating visiting Blenheim

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs have won their first five games of the WECSSAA Tier 3 football season with the latest win coming last Thursday.

The Bulldogs knocked off the visiting Blenheim Bobcats at Centennial Park 27-13 with the Bulldogs scoring the first 27 points on the afternoon. The scoring began in the first quarter on 13-yard touchdown run by quarterback Emmitt Rosati on the game’s opening drive.

The Bulldogs would add 17 more points in the second quarter to take a 24-0 halftime lead. After kicker Matteo Gugliotta connected on a 24-yard field goal, running back Levi Reaume scored on a 20-yard touchdown run to make it 17-0.

Brayden LeClerc got in on the act later in the quarter on a seven-yard touchdown run.

Gugliotta, who also converted the three General Amherst touchdowns, kicked a 26-yard field goal in the third quarter. Blenheim had seven and 62 yard touchdown passes in the fourth quarter but could not close the gap any further.

“We played really well in the first half,” said Rosati. “We had penalties that cost us big plays. Overall we played pretty well.”

Brayden LeClerc makes a catch during first half action against Blenheim last Thursday. General Amherst beat Blenheim 27-13 at Centennial Park.

Rosati said they get a lot of penalties in games and that is something they have to improve upon. He said the 5-0 start was nice, particularly after both junior and senior teams went winless in 2017.

“It feels great, especially after last season,” he said.

The Bulldogs play two tough opponents in the final two games, both on the road, and Rosati said they will have to play hard to win them.

General Amherst head coach John Rudak said they controlled the ball well and “we didn’t have to pass too much.”

“They played us straight up. They didn’t try to cheat on us,” Rudak said of the Bobcats, adding the visitors were “undermanned” and used some trick plays to get scores.

“The best part was all of our future guys were all able to get in the game and have a chance to play,” he said, as the Bulldogs are a combined team this year with a lot of junior aged players on it.

Reaume and LeClerc both ran the ball well, he noted and Bryce Dougan played well on defense.

“Penalties are costing us,” he added. “We had two touchdowns called back.”

Both of the final two regular season games are at Tecumseh Vista Academy, with the opponents this week being Riverside at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Bulldogs close the season with a game next Friday against Tecumseh Vista Academy at 5 p.m.

For more photos from the Oct. 18 football game, view our photo album.

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 improve to 2-0 in WECSSAA Tier 3 football action

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior football team is now 2-0 on the WECSSAA Tier 3 season after a convincing win last Thursday afternoon.

The Bulldogs blanked Lajeunesse 26-0 in a game played at Centennial Park. General Amherst scored on their first possession as the legs and arm of quarterback Emmitt Rosati got the Bulldogs down the field before running back Levi Reaume scored on an eight-yard run.

General Amherst’s Ethan Reaume (36) heads upfield for a big gain Sept. 27 against Lajeunesse. Amherst won 26-0.

Levi’s brother Ethan got in on the act in the second quarter, as he reeled in a 65-yard touchdown pass from Rosati. Rosati scored the Bulldogs third touchdown on a one-yard plunge late in the first half to make it 20-0.

Kicker Matteo Gugliotta had a 12-yard field goal in the third quarter and booted a 19-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Bulldogs head coach John Rudak said they executed well in just about every facet of the game, except in the penalty department. He estimated they had 150-200 yards in penalties. The discipline aspect of their game will have to be cleaned up as Rudak acknowledged that it is difficult to win consistently with that many penalties.

Rudak said they knew Lajeunesse would have trouble passing the football, so they played close to the line of scrimmage and tried to force Lajeunesse to pass the ball.

“It’s a great confidence booster,” Rudak said of the win. “From the get-go, we moved the ball very efficiently.”

General Amherst’s Levi Reaume gets tackled after gaining positive yardage during the Bulldogs’ 26-0 win over Lajeunesse Sept. 27.

The touchdown on the opening drive was “probably our best drive of the season,” said Rudak.

The Bulldogs also escaped the game with no injuries and Rudak noted they were able to get playing time to some Grade 9 and 10 players.

General Amherst will try and pick up their third straight win in their third straight home game this week. The Bulldogs will be back at the Libro Centre Friday evening for a 5 p.m. game against the Leamington Lions.

For more photos from General Amherst’s 26-0 victory over Lajeunesse, visit our Facebook album.