Leaside Lancers spoiled the perfect season of Central Tech Blues and gave themselves fourth place and playoff berth with a 30-21 win Oct. 25 in the Annex.
The Lancers overcame a 14-point deficit and scored 23 unanswered points in the second half en route to the victory at Central Tech’s field.
The Blues’ 21-7 halftime lead came mostly through physical running. Speed and power on their runs, courtesy of Chafique Flemming and Samuel Francis, forced Leaside to overplay at the offensive line.
Quarterback Mashrur Mugdho caught Leaside off guard early on, tossing two deep touchdown passes in the first quarter — a 30-yard pass to Quayshawn Gabbidon and a 40-yard pass to Reneil Reid.
The Lancers took advantage of a Reid fumble at midfield to score a touchdown late in the second quarter.
The second half was almost the mirror opposite of the first, as Leaside’s running game, anchored by solid blocking and the skilled running of running back Kahma Messinga and slotback Brentyn Hall, moved the Blues’ defensive line backward and found space to attack up the middle.
“I just had to wait for my blocks,” the 5-foot-7 Messinga said after the game. “Definitely the O-line had a huge part in it.”
The turning point of the game came in the fourth quarter, as the Lancer defence scored a safety, after a play where the defence made Mugdho scramble left, causing a tackle in the end zone.
“They tried to reverse, and I believe one of my guys, the middle linebacker Jamie Maier, he caught onto the guy and I just filled him in,” said Leaside defender Spencer Evans, who assisted on the safety. “It felt great knowing that we got the comeback, tied them up, and then we got ahead with two points after that safety.
“[The safety] felt better than anything else, almost as good finally beating them but it was a great feeling.”
Messinga added insurance points, running for a touchdown with nine minutes left in the game. Central Tech had a tough time putting together long drives, as their run game wasn’t giving them the space needed to execute passes downfield.
It was a frustrating fourth quarter that made Mugdho, and his team, realize some hard truths about themselves and their season.
“That basically means that we’re not really the big bad whatever-we-are,” a frustrated Mugdho said, noting that it made the Blues realize they can lose. He called the loss “a big wakeup call.”
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