John Rudak

Sr. Bulldogs blanked in final game of regular season



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs hung in there against Tecumseh Vista Academy but then the dam burst.

The winless Bulldogs were in Tecumseh last Thursday for WECSSAA Tier 2 senior football action and were matched up against not only an undefeated Vortex team, but a team that hadn’t allowed a point all season either. The end result didn’t change anything as Tecumseh Vista Academy blanked the Bulldogs 43-0.

The Bulldogs played well in the first half, including having a long first half drive that took a lot of time on the clock but didn’t result in any points. The game was scoreless until two minutes and 30 seconds was left on the clock in the half when the Vortex scored on a nine-yard touchdown run. They would add two more touchdowns before the first half was out, one on a 43-yard touchdown pass thrown by quarterback Dan Mailloux and the other on an 11-yard touchdown run by Mailloux. One of the converts was missed meaning Tecumseh Vista Academy had a 20-0 halftime lead.

Bulldogs’ running back Ethan Lavigne (14) tries to evade a pair of Tecumseh Vista Academy players during Oct. 26 game action.

Mailloux added a five-yard touchdown run and a one-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to bring his team’s advantage to 34-0 after three quarters. Amherst conceded a safety in the fourth quarter to make it a 36-0 game with Mailloux connecting on a 20-yard touchdown pass in the game’s final moments to round out the scoring.

“I thought we came out extremely strong,” said General Amherst head coach John Rudak. “We moved the ball on offense and were good on defense.”

Rudak said they had a good opportunity to go into halftime only trailing 7-0 but “bad things happened” and the Vortex were able to get another two scores that half.

General Amherst quarterback Spencer Hawkins throws a pass despite a Vortex defender diving for his legs during Oct. 26 action. Tecumseh Vista Academy won 43-0.

“The floodgates opened up,” said Rudak.

Rudak praised the efforts of many of his graduating players, roughly nine in all, but added some members of this year’s senior football team didn’t show the commitment needed for the team to be successful.

“What caused us not to be successful is a lack of dedication from half of the team,” he said.

The senior Bulldogs had difficulty getting their entire team to practices this season and that showed in games. Rudak said junior players they called up “saved us” and was thankful the team made it through the six game season without having to fold.

“It was definitely very trying,” he said of the 2017 season.

Sr. Bulldogs battle Riverside but come up short



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs battled the Riverside Rebels for the second time this season and while it was a bit closer of a game, the result was the same.

The Bulldogs lost 38-6 last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre to fall to 0-5. Despite the score, the Bulldogs did play better than they did in the first game of the season, a 41-0 loss to the Rebels Sept. 14.

Riverside used big plays to build a lead, including an 80-yard punt return touchdown and a 76-yard run in the first half and that, plus a field goal, put the visitors up 17-0 at the half. Thanks to a 23-yard pass and a two-yard run, the Rebels went up 30-0 in the fourth quarter and followed that up with a single point on a kickoff to go up 31-0.

General Amherst’s Austin Hocevar (31) tries to get around a Riverside defender. Trying to create room for his teammate is Amherst’s Ethan Lavigne (14).

Brayden LeClerc provided a highlight for the Bulldogs, as he scored on a 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter but Riverside added another touchdown, this one on a 68-yard run, to round out the scoring.

General Amherst was able to move the ball at points, including a successful fake punt in the first half, but was unable to get to the end zone with the exception of the LeClerc touchdown.

“In the first half, I think we ran things a lot better,” said head coach John Rudak. “We were a lot more solid.”

With it being 17-0 at the half, Rudak said the Bulldogs believed the game was still in reach but their “bend but not break” defense allowed too many big plays.

“We have a lot of kids who haven’t played football (before this season) and are not football smart right now,” said Rudak. “It’s been difficult.”

With the Bulldogs set to face an undefeated Tecumseh Vista Academy team this Thursday afternoon in Tecumseh, Rudak wants all of his players to be ready and to come out to practice in preparation for the game. It will be the final regular season game for General Amherst.

Levi Reaume (gold jersey, #21) is tackled by a pair of Riverside defenders Oct. 19 at the Libro Centre. Riverside won 38-6.

“It’s about the team right now, not the individuals,” he said. “We have to be focused on the team. Our society seems to be based on what is good for me, at least with the youth it seems.”

Rudak even quoted Star Trek character Spock, in stating “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

The team played the previous week in Wallaceburg for the “Bronze Boot” and while they lost, assistant coach Joel Charron said it was a good experience for the players.

“(Wallaceburg) was a big, beefy team,” said Charron. “I don’t think we came prepared.”

Sr. Bulldogs fall short against Lajeunesse despite strong second half



By Ron Giofu


It was the tale of two halves for the General Amherst Bulldogs senior football team last week.

The Bulldogs travelled to Lajeunesse last Friday afternoon and while the first half ended up being their downfall, the second half proved to be a much better one.

Lajeunesse got off to a fast start and led 14-0 before the Bulldogs’ offense even took to the field. The home team scored on their opening drive thanks to a run of 55 yards to go up 7-0 and got the ball right back thanks to a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Lajeunesse scored again thanks to a seven yard touchdown run on their next series to go up 14-0.

General Amherst’s Levi Reaume (right) runs with the ball during the second half of his team’s game against Lajeunesse last Friday.

A pair of second quarter touchdowns, including a 65-yard run on the first play of the quarter and a 27-yard touchdown pass late in the quarter, gave Lajeunesse a 27-0 lead going into halftime. The extra point was missed on the third Lajeunesse touchdown.

The Bulldogs played much better in the second half. Amherst had a lengthy third quarter drive that took up much of the quarter but fell short inside the Lajeunesse five-yard line on a third down play but their improved play paid off in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard late in the game thanks to quarterback Spencer Hawkins connecting with wide receiver Ethan Lavigne on a 21-yard touchdown pass.

General Amherst’s two-point conversion was successful as Hawkins found Calvin Cribley in the front corner of the end zone.

General Amherst quarterback Spencer Hawkins (3) fires a pass during second half action Oct. 6 at Lajeunesse.

“We had a huge pick up in enthusiasm,” said General Amherst head coach John Rudak. “Everyone was very, very quiet in the first half.”

The Bulldogs were slowed by their lack of football experience, as Rudak pointed out that players like Hawkins had to continuously explain the plays to his teammates. He said the halftime message was simply for players to play their positions as they were caught looking into the backfield in the first half instead of aggressively playing their positions as they were supposed to.

“It was a very good second half by us,” said Rudak. “I was definitely impressed by Levi Reaume. He played some hard nosed football for us. Spencer also played some hard nosed football.”

While the Bulldogs don’t have a WECSSAA league game this week, they will be in action. Both the senior and junior teams will be on the road this week to battle Wallaceburg High School for the “Bronze Boot.” Rudak said they want to bring the trophy to home.

“This is the highlight of our season,” he added. “It will be sweet to bring it to Essex County.”

The next league game for General Amherst is Oct. 19 at the Libro Centre against Riverside starting at 5 p.m. They follow that up with a game at Tecumseh Vista Academy Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. in what will be their final regular season game.

Sr. Bulldogs lose 42-34 against Leamington, battle dwindling numbers



By Jolene Perron


The General Amherst Senior Bulldogs fought a tough battle in Friday’s 42-34 loss to Leamington.
The Leamington offense started the first quarter strong with aggressive plays, leading to the opening touchdown. It wasn’t until the second quarter when Amherst quarterback Emmitt Rosati came back with an answering touchdown. Amherst attempted to go for a two-point conversation, but came up short, allowing Leamington to continue their lead, closing out the first half 27-6.

The Bulldogs played a hard third quarter with two touchdowns. Rosati connected with Calvin Cribley on a 19-yard touchdown and ran one in himself. A pair of two-point conversations – a passes to Riley Thomas and Cribley) brought the Bulldogs closer.

General Amherst ended up scoring 22 points in the second half, capped by a 64-yard pass from Rosati to Levi Reaume, and that plus strong defense saw them take the lead 28-27 midway into the fourth quarter.

However Leamington came through with two late touchdowns, and despite the Bulldogs’ efforts, the Lions ultimately prevailed.

General Amherst’s Levi Reaume tackles a Leamington Lions player during their Friday night game at the Libro Centre.

“We came from two touchdowns down, we took the lead, but we just couldn’t hang on to keep pushing that ticket,” said Rudak. “But it was a fun game for most of them and it was a definite step forward.”
While Amherst wasn’t struggling with injuries this week, Rudak said he is having trouble with practice attendance which lead him to call six juniors up to join the senior team for Friday’s game.

“Definite improvement, bringing up those six juniors really helped us,” said Rudak. “It’s a bit of an epidemic of players not coming to practice and some of them don’t even let us know they aren’t coming to the game. There’s just a few little things that get you down a bit.”
Rudak said those six players will not be joining them again next week, as they want to continue to play on the junior team and according to the rules, if they play two weeks in a row with the seniors they will be considered a part of that team instead.
The Bulldogs return to the field Friday as they make the trek out to Lajeunesse for 3 p.m.

Sr. Bulldogs blanked 42-0 by Tecumseh Vista Academy



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs had their home opener last Thursday night but are still looking for their first win.

The Bulldogs welcomed the Tecumseh Vista Academy Vortex to the Libro Centre but it was the visitors who came away with a 42-0 victory. The undermanned Bulldogs suffered additional injuries as the game went on and ended up dropping to 0-2 on the 2017 WECSSAA AA Tier 2 senior football season.

General Amherst head coach speaks with his team after the Bulldogs lost 42-0 to Tecumseh Vista Academy last Thursday night at the Libro Centre.

The Vortex led 7-0 after one quarter thanks to a 23-year touchdown pass on third down. A penalty wiped out a pick-six for the visitors later in the quarter. Tecumseh Vista added three touchdowns in the second quarter – a four-yard shovel pass for a score and one and 12-yard touchdown runs – and led 28-0 at the half.

A nine-yard touchdown pass and a 27-yard touchdown run in the third and fourth quarters respectively rounded out the scoring. The Vortex threatened late in the fourth quarter but Brayden LeClerc intercepted a pass to stall a Tecumseh Vista drive.

General Amherst head coach John Rudak gives instruction to Ethan Lavigne last Thursday night during the game against Tecumseh Vista Academy.

Despite the loss, General Amherst head coach John Rudak saw some positives.

“Definitely, there was a lot of progress in the first half,” said Rudak. “We were a lot calmer. We were better on defense because of the fact we played calmer.”
The injuries and a lack of both depth and experience caught up with the Bulldogs, though, and Amherst was unable to rally.

“They do play with a lot of heart,” said defensive co-ordinator Joel Charron. “They don’t have a lot of experience. There’s not much more we can ask from a team with 19 guys and guys playing in their first year.”

General Amherst’s Brayden LeClerc is brought down by a pair of Tecumseh Vista Academy tacklers during first half action Sept. 21 at the Libro Centre.

Rudak said Ethan Lavigne was a standout on the defensive side of the football.

“Ethan played an outstanding game on defense,” said Rudak. “He chased down a lot of guys for us.”

Rudak added the Bulldogs “are trying to survive and get ready for Friday” when the Leamington Lions come in for a 5 p.m. game at the Libro Centre. More players are expected to come out to practice and that should give the Bulldogs a lift, Rudak added.