It became evident at a pre-season game against Forest Hill Falcons that the Lawrence Park Panthers need to work on their offensive line, according to head coach Mark Harrison.
After a 22-0 drubbing of the Falcons Sept. 18, Harrison said the Panthers are roaring with offensive talent but the guards aren’t living up to their full potential.
“We know we’ve got some huge offensive weapons in terms of skilled guys like our quarterback Simon (Nassar), Justin Babin, and number 21 Peter Alexis,” he said. “What we don’t have is our O-line.
“The O-line did a nice job moving and getting into place,” he said. “(But) they weren’t as aggressive as I would like them to be, but they’ve got some big kids, Forest Hill, and I was happy with the way our guys played.”
During the game quarterback Nassar threw several outs to key receivers Alexis, Babin and Andrew Sinclair.
Touchdowns came from Babin, Adrian Raffoul and Andrew Zanetta while a pair of two point conversions by Alexis and Sinclair rounded out the scorecard.
Forest Hill’s top performer was Jay Goldstein who found chinks in the Panthers’ almost impenetrable armour.
Falcons coaches Ron Singer and Chris Parkin commended the halfback, who saw plenty of action both sides of the ball.
“He was charged with covering their top receiver, Babin — one of the best in the province,” Parkin said. “So Jay not only had to carry the ball a lot on offence, but then turn around and try to stay with an exceptional athlete.”
In the end penalties did Forest Hill in.
“Where the disappointment lay today was we could have executed better than we showed overall, but hopefully for the guys it’s an eye opener,” Parkin said of his combined junior and senior team. “We can talk about being in Tier 1, but until you actually suit up and start playing against a Tier 1 team it gives you a reality check of just how hard you have to work if you want to compete.”
Singer said even with the lack of discipline, the Falcons were able to run the ball effectively on the inside, as Goldstein amassed 40-plus yards on the field. Because the game was an exhibition contest either team kept stats.
Still, Harrison said the team started the game disorganized despite the victory.
“The first quarter was pretty sloppy, but we’re practicing with 16, 17 kids, so it’s kind of hard to get organized for a game,” he said, adding the exhibition game was essential to massage the kinks out of the roster.
“We’re playing the defending city champions next week so they’re going to have like 50 guys so we needed this,” he said.
The Panthers saw Northern Red Knights at Lawrence Park CI, Sept. 25. Results of the game were not known at press time.
The Panthers’ goal during the 2009-2010 TDSSAA football season: Tier 1 playoffs.
“When we have decent weather we can play with anybody on offence,” Harrison said. “I think with our defence we need a couple of big bodies to stop (other) teams.”
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