The Orillia Secondary School Nighthawks senior boys football team soared to its second victory of the season Thursday afternoon.
The now 0-2-0 Innisdale Invaders had no answer for Nighthawks quarterback Blake Cruise, who shredded the defence all game long.
Cruise, a Grade 12 student, threw for about 200 yards and three touchdowns through the air and added nearly 70 yards on the ground with two more touchdowns.
“My teammates made some great plays today,” Cruise said. “We’ve really improved throughout the season so far.”
The Nighthawks were victorious in their first game of the season by a score of 38-24 over Collingwood. They then lost a close one to Eastview last week, 13-12, before heading home Thursday to down the Invaders 39-13.
“I think our strength so far is our heart,” Cruise said. “I think our ability to keep going no matter what the scoreboard says is what makes us a strong team.”
He expects the senior team will avenge last season’s shortcomings, when the junior team fell to Collingwood in the Simcoe County Athletic Association championship game.
“I don’t expect anything less than a championship,” he said.
The offence wasn’t the only unit doing the work Thursday; the Nighthawks’ defence was also contributing with big plays. Grade 12 cornerback Jared Macintyre stole a possession from the Invaders late in the first quarter with an interception.
“The quarterback threw the ball kind of wonky, so I just kind of put my hands out and made a play,” he said.
Macintyre says it’s taken all three units to win games this year and everyone is contributing.
“A lot of backup guys made plays today,” he said. “It shows that we are winning as a team.”
The loss to Eastview last week was a “fluke,” Macintyre says, but the Nighthawks have cleaned up their mistakes from that game and are looking to make a statement.
“We are back, and we are looking to punch everybody in the mouth,” he said. “This is most definitely a championship team and you guys are going to hear us.”
Grade 11 safety Scott Ivancic also had an interception on the day. He is one of the many players on this year’s senior team who lost in the junior final last year.
“I think we can go all the way this year,” he said. “We just have to tighten some things up here and there as we go.”
Ivancic says he and his teammates from last season are hungry to return the championship game.
“We are coming back for that championship,” he said. “We are going to give it everything we’ve got.”
The Nighthawks’ junior boys football team was 2-0 going into Thursday evening’s match with Innisdale.
Across town at Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School, the Flames’ senior squad was 1-1 and the juniors were 0-1-1 going into Thursday’s games against St. Theresa’s.