It’s the first time a Tier 1 Leaside football team has reached a city final.
Even though the Lancers came out on the losing end of a 16-14 game against Richview Saints, head coach Jim Georgiadis had nothing but positives to offer his charges after the match Nov. 12.
“I told the kids to keep their heads up and be proud of their accomplishment,” he said. “The kids were very excited and very happy with their accomplishments and they have every right to be.
“They basically now have put the football program at a different level.”
Keeping in mind the roster included many of the junior level city champions from two years ago, the success of this year’s seniors has raised awareness in the halls of Leaside High School.
“Success breeds more success and hopefully more kids will participate and more kids will go on to play football in the community through OVFL,” he said. “Play a little more football in the summer so that way when they return in September they’re a little more seasoned.”
Football visibility for a school known for strong baseball and hockey clubs is far from a bad thing.
“We’re starting to get (football) here at Leaside,” Georgiadis said. “Kids now are starting to play for the Thunder, the Wildcats or the junior Argos and it’s just making them better players.”
The Lancers finished 4-0 on the regular season with 87 points for and 21 against. En route to the South Region final, Leaside tamed Lawrence Park Panthers 43-7 in the semis, and then won their division over Central Tech 17-12.
It was a final far different from Northern Red Knights and East York Goliaths in 2009, but that is the challenge in the South, Georgiadis said.
“The South Region is always a difficult region to get out of when you’ve got teams like Northern, East York, Lawrence Park and Central Tech to contend with,” he said. “For us to come out of that division and to win the South Region was a big accomplishment in itself.”
Once it came to the path to the city finals, they faced another Lancers crew: Agincourt.
As the Highlander saying goes, “There can only be one”, Leaside’s Lancers pierced Agincourt 21-19.
Then came Richview Saints.
“I don’t think we saved our best game for the finals,” Georgiadis admitted. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get much of a rhythm going on offence.
“Defensively if you told us we would hold them to 16 points in the finals, I would’ve probably told you we would’ve won that game.”
Still, Leaside’s tenacity on the season paid off, spawning optimism for 2011.
“The kids never really said they were going to win the whole thing this year but you knew they had bigger things in mind beyond South Region,” Georgiadis said.
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