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UPDATED: Bantam Spartans save their best for biggest game of the year

Summerside upsets Charlottetown to repeat as provincial bantam champions


The Summerside Waterwise Spartans saved their best for last.

The Spartans entered the Papa John’s P.E.I. Bantam Tackle Football League’s championship game as the underdogs against the previously-undefeated Charlottetown Privateers. But the Spartans proved records don’t matter in winner-take-all finals and came to play on Saturday afternoon, posting a 46-32 win in the 2019 Ed Hilton Bowl.
“I couldn’t be prouder of every single one of them,” Spartans head coach Brian Goguen told the Journal Pioneer in a post-game interview. “We came here as a team, we are leaving as champions and it’s absolutely incredible.
“It’s amazing how the boys came to play.”
Sam Friesen returned the game’s opening kickoff for a touchdown and the Spartans were off and running before some fans even settled into their seats at Eric Johnston Field in Summerside. The Spartans never trailed in the game and took a 34-20 lead into halftime.
“It was an excellent game,” said Privateers general manager David Henderson. “We knew it was going to be a difficult match coming into the Summerside field and they played tough offence and defence.”

Four touchdowns
First-year player Campbell Wadman had a big game for the Spartans, scoring four touchdowns, including two in each half.
After the Privateers closed to within 34-26 on a receiving touchdown by Mathis Blais in the last minute of the third quarter, Friesen returned the ensuing kickoff to inside Charlottetown’s 10-yard line. Wadman battled his way into the end zone in the first minute of the fourth quarter to make the score 40-26. He then added an insurance touchdown with 1:37 remaining.
“What a game he had,” said Goguen referring to Wadman. “I can’t say enough about him.”
Jonas Binkley and Brex MacLeod also scored majors for the Spartans.
Blais, Charlie Ross and Jahkei Munnings found the end zone for the Privateers in the first half.

Goguen said the Spartans, who have won two straight and six of the last seven provincial bantam championships, took advantage of their speed.
“We dictated blocking,” continued Goguen. “We had to make sure we were making our blocks and let our runners run.
“We scored one touchdown on them the last time we played them and I don’t know how many we put up today, six or seven. It’s a credit to these players and how hard they played. They made their blocks, made their runs and our defence stood up at the end.”
Henderson credited the Spartans for "making our running game difficult to get established.”
Although there were a couple of times when it looked like the Privateers were about to make a push, the Spartans always had an answer.
“There were so many momentum changes, but as soon as they started getting momentum, boom, we made one play after another to get that momentum back,” said Goguen. “Credit to Charlottetown, they played one heck of a game.”
Henderson praised his team’s coaching staff for maintaining a high energy level and positive attitude on the bench.
“We made a good push in the second half and we ran out of clock and it just doesn’t stop at this age level (Grades 7 to 9) it seems,” said Henderson. “The unfortunate turnovers on our part ended up biting us at the end.”
Despite the loss, Henderson said the Privateers had a great season. They finished the regular season 6-0 (won-lost), including three wins against the Spartans (3-3).
“We worked a lot on different plays in practice and when we watched the game film that showed us and the players a lot about what we can and can’t do,” said Goguen. “We realized we didn’t play our best games (against Charlottetown) and we told them today, ‘Play your best and let the chips fall where they may.’
“They played their best and we came out champs.”

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