Field of dreams

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

No matter how many games they play and no matter what conditions they may face, the Leaside Lancers junior football team always will cherish this moment in time.

From the time they arrived at Rogers Centre, took their first steps on the cavernous field and began to absorb the atmosphere of a big-league venue, the kids knew they were in store for more than just another football matchup.

The lights shone, the stands began to swell and the anticipation mounted. It was a day the junior Lancers will likely never forget and a result that won't soon be forgotten.

"What a once in a lifetime experience,'' beamed Lancers running back Davis Gorges after Leaside foiled the Northern Red Knights 20-14.

"Everyone here treated us so well. I think everyone on our team thought we'd lose, but we just stepped it up, on offence, on defence, and we're just so happy."

The day, which featured Northern's senior team wrapping up an unbeaten season with a 35-0 win over Leaside, came courtesy of the community-conscious Argos.

Leaside's home surface is about one-third of the Rogers Centre field and the added dimension played right into the junior Lancers' hands.

With Gorges and backfield mate Daniel Heslop leading the way, the Lancers used their quickness to gain yards along the ground. Heslop scored two of Leaside's touchdowns, while Gorges produced one.

The junior Red Knights, who played all 84 of their players in uniform, hadn't allowed a single point on defence prior to yesterday's game.

"Our energy was up and we kept positive, even after Northern would score a touchdown," Gorges said. "A win like this boosts your confidence and we go into the playoffs on a high note.

Leaside beating Northern at football is no small feat. In fact, yesterday's win may have been a first.

Coach Mark Chambers attended Leaside as did his dad and the coaching Chambers can't recall the school beating Northern.

The teams are likely to meet in the post-season.

There was no Cinderella-type feel to the senior game as Northern showed its superiority.

"We were ready," receiver Milan Jovanovic said. "I'm sure if we play like this we'll be back here on Dec. 8 (Metro Bowl championship). We're getting better for sure."

Of all the big plays Northern manufactured, none was as spectacular as quarterback George Gretes chasing down Leaside defensive back Ted Banting 100 yards to prevent the Lancers from scoring off of a turnover. Northern's defence held and Leaside never threatened.


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