Huddled in a corner of Esther Shiner Stadium, the Upper Canada Blues stared at the ground while coach David Shaw gave a passionate farewell speech.
UCC failed to make the Metro Bowl final, losing 25-16 to Holy Trinity Titans of Simcoe, Ont. on Nov. 18.
“Don’t worry about post-mortems,” he told a sea of white and blue. “I see what greatness your parents see in you.”
With a quivering voice, Shaw lauded his charges for not only a standout CISAA season, but a Metro Bowl-qualifying one at that.
“Only one team has the most talent — I always told the guys it’s not us so we’ve got to be the hardest-working, tightest-knit and the best prepared team,” Shaw told the Town Crier. “Guys have worked so hard and that’s why it hurts so much when you lay everything on the line and you don’t get what you want.”
Top performances came from running back Pelle Jorgen, quarterback Seamus Power and Michael Topolinski on defence.
What discouraged the Blues however, was a missed convert on one of their touchdowns.
“We tied it up and missed a convert so we were down by one,” Shaw said. “That was just a little deflating.”
That mood continued into the dressing room, said Jorgen, who played the game with an injured hamstring.
“It’s a little bit depressing but we’re like a family so we’re just trying to remember the good moments of the season and remember the way we got so far,” he said. “We accomplished something. We won our league.”
In Jorgen’s view, the turning point was a long touchdown drive by the Titans in the third that sapped the Blues of their energy.
“There’s not much else I can say, we just didn’t execute. We tried to do the best we could but they just caught us off guard,” he said. “Our defence couldn’t handle the run and our offence couldn’t handle their D-line.”
Upper Canada won’t rue the day though. Next season plenty of the regulars will be back, including Jorgen.
Shaw is looking forward to getting back in the trench fights with rivals St. Mike’s and St. Andrew’s next season.
“That’s what makes it fun,” he said. “We play in a very competitive league, so when you win it you feel really good about yourself because it’s hard work to win our league and get beyond it.”
Jorgen echoed the sentiment.
“We want to be back here and be in this game,” he said. “Except we want to come out on top.”
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