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'We knew what it takes': Kodiaks win OFSAA bowl game in Windsor

Bear Creek senior football team caps off undefeated season with big season-ending shutout win over North York's Chaminade Gryphons
The Bear Creek Kodiaks senior football team celebrates after their 25-0 victory over Chaminade College to win the OFSAA Simcoe Bowl in Windsor on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023.

The Bear Creek Kodiaks went wire to wire this season without ever suffering a loss ... and they did it without ever playing a home game. 

The south-end Barrie high school's senior football team capped off its dream season Monday morning by mauling North York's Chaminade College Gryphons, champions of the Toronto District Catholic Board, to win their Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Simcoe Bowl game.

The Kodiaks avenged their loss in last year's bowl game, as they rolled to a 25-0 victory over the Gryphons at Acumen Stadium in Windsor on Nov. 27.

Bear Creek quarterback Justin Cunningham scored two touchdowns, while Preston Cole rushed for a single TD.

The game’s MVP, kicker Daniel Reilly, booted a field goal and ran in a two-point conversion.

“(Our) defence played well and executed their game plan,” head coach Keith Jackson told BarrieToday by phone after the game.

Members of the Bear Creek Kodiaks shake hands with the Barrie North Vikings after Bear Creek won the SCAA title on Friday. From left are Kodiaks Daniel Reilly, Justin Cunningham, Anthony Khlivny and Ryan Stevens. | Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday files

He said the defence played a strong game, shutting down the run and pass game under the coaching of defensive co-ordinator Ian Sinclair.

The team kept the ball on the ground as the wind played havoc with the long ball and kept the passing game to short, quick receptions, Jackson added.

The Kodiaks endured a challenging season with no access to a practice field or home games as their sports field was under construction.

They fought on undaunted all year.

With “great staff and community coaching and sticking to the fundamentals, the guys persevered,” Jackson said.

“We talked about opportunity this season and we worked hard to create opportunity for ourselves and take away opportunity from our opponents," he added. 

Jackson said he couldn’t be more proud of his team.

“We had made it to the bowl game last year and lost in the last minute of the game, so to be back to back, we knew what it takes to bring home the ring,” he said.

“The brotherhood these guys have developed is a lifetime experience and we feel we did Simcoe County proud," Jackson added. 

To get to the OFSAA bowl game, the Bear Creek Kodiaks had previously beaten their south-end Barrie rivals, the St. Joan of Arc Knights, to win the Georgian Bay Secondary School Association (GBSSA) championship title.

The Kodiaks came away with a 16-6 victory in that game over the Knights at Georgian College's J.C. Massie Field in Barrie to earn this trip to the OFSAA game and their resulting championship win.

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About the Author: Kevin Lamb

Kevin Lamb picked up a camera in 2000 and by 2005 was freelancing for the Barrie Examiner newspaper until its closure in 2017. He is an award-winning photojournalist, with his work having been seen in many news outlets across Canada and internationally
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