Seems like every year we're talking about the London Mustangs and the Cambridge Lions matchup, this year is no different. London had a tough first week game, they gave up a lead to a solid Mississauga team and weren't able to recover. London lead by their leading rusher #24 Timo Scheele will be hungry to get back on track after a bye week to help the Mustangs correct mistakes and fine tune anything needed. London seems like they're the usual talent filled roster with great size and athleticism in every position.
On the other side of this heavyweight fight is the Cambridge Lions, they had a tough Cumberland team make the drive from Ottawa and give them a run for their money. Cumberland came out firing after Cambridge took some costly penalties and the Panthers Capitalized. The Lions showed great pose to shake their heads loose of the cobwebs and get focused. The Lions started to get settled and move the ball on offense through the air. On offense the Lions are led by second year QB Michael Warner and have a potent passing game, with that being said the Lions will need to get their run game going better than 24 carries for 103 yards won't cut it against a big, aggressive front 7 for London. I think Cambridge's defensive front 7 also looked big and aggressive, this game could be decided out of the box with these two teams being solid inside!
If this game comes down to the passing game and who can effectively move the ball through the air I think the edge is Cambridge's, if the game is decided in the trenches and London gets their running game going it could be a long day. That being said with the change to 3 down ball this year I think Cambridge's offense ability to move the ball down the field through the air will be the advantage. I think Cambridge's front 7 will keep Scheele in check and force the Mustangs to throw the ball. This is going to be a fantastic game, off a bye week for everyone expect a great football game!
Week 3 Prediction: Lions 34 – Jr. Mustangs 21
Well, well, well... Here we are in a new league, a new year and yet again we have potential championship teams Essex and Niagara matching up in week 3 after a bye week. Coming off a heartbreaking 26-25 loss to Burlington in week 1, where the Ravens gave up a 25-11 lead, they'll look to bounce back.
As always Essex is a balanced team across the board with 36 2nd year JV aged players and their well-known QB #3 Jake Heydon - who threw for 3 touchdowns in week 1. Don't be fooled by the Ravens gunslinger and athletic receivers(#1, #5, #2) because runningback #19 Boriz Wright has the ability to break a game open on his own, his quick cuts and ability to make people miss is exciting. Essex is expectedly big up front on the offensive line and it gives them great balance. Their ability to pass the ball to anyone on the field is one thing, but their go to guy is #1 Justin Pope with 5 grabs, 129 yards, and 2 TDs week 1. On the other side of the ball, Essex seem to be very athletic at led by #50 Zack Argent, and all 3 have the ability to cover and stop the run effectively. The Ravens had trouble stopping the Stampeders pass game in week 1 and it seems to be the weak point of their defense. Don't be shocked if they come out and shut down the pass after a bye week and a few adjustments.
The Spears coming off a 31-7 win over Kingston in the opening week are looking to continue their early success by going into Windsor and taking a big game from the Ravens. In order to do that Niagara will need to keep their balanced attack that they used in week 1 against the Grenadiers. Two of their runningbacks, #4 Jeremiah Nyambiya and #22 Enzey Youyoute, had 10 or more carries both with effective averages and just exhausted the Grens defense. Their pass game was efficient and effective with their QB only attempting 15 passes but completing 53% with 2 TDs through the air. They then tacked on another on the ground with no turnovers. Quarterback, #14 Ethan Reid, has a couple of weapons to choose on the outside not including the two backs already mentioned. They had 3 receivers record a catch, Youyoute had 4 grabs for 133 yards and 2 TDs, while 2 other receivers pitched in with 2 grabs each. Up front the Spears are loaded with size and athleticism on the O-Line which is not uncommon for this team. This allows for them to exhaust teams by running downhill but they can also pass block and give Reid the time he needs. The Spears defence is what I would call the definition of versatile; anyone at any time can make a tackle or a play for these guys.
This game is going to be a potential West Division Final and will be one everyone in the OPFL JV division will be paying attention to. I can see this being the tale of two types of offense. I think the Spears are going to want to get their two headed runningback monster going and on the other side I think Heydon will want to spread it around to Pope and others through the air. The Ravens will need to avoid turnovers in order to win this game as the ball control style of game the Spears want to play will only be easier if they get extra possessions. I think the spears get their run game going and force a turnover or two to steal a road game in Windsor!
Predicted outcome: Spears 24 - Ravens 20
Guelph looks to be a very young and inexperienced team losing big to Durham week 1. Hamilton struggled a little bit with the Sooners in week 1 but managed to come out on top. Look for the Ti-Cats to bounce back strong against the Gryphons this week. This one will be closer than most people think, Guelph is a young team that will get better as the weeks go by. Ti-cats will win this one but not by a blowout.
Predicted outcome: Ticats 24 - Gryphons 7
Burlington earned a confidence building win in week 1 beating Essex in comeback fashion, showing they can win on the ground and through the air. Cumberland came out of the gate firing and went up 7-0 in Cambridge looking like the better team only to see 28 unanswered points put up for the other guys. Cumberland is a talented team that after a bye week could be the most dangerous team. I think this is going to be a good game with lots of ups and downs, look for a big turnover for one of these defenses to be the turning point.
Burlington might just be a bit more talented and developed in the passing game due to prior 3 down ball experience which will allow QB Keagan Hall to spread the ball out and win through the air.
Predicted outcome: Stamps 42 - Panthers 21
Durham matched up with Guelph in week 1 and put it on them winning big. As stated in my previous breakdowns Guelph is very young and inexperienced and the Dolphins capitalized. Kingston played a much stronger Niagara team and had trouble getting anything going. It’s quite possible that Kingston played the strongest team in the division, and Durham played the weakest; but time will tell! This game is going to be one of the best of the week. I think Kingston will have taken full advantage of their bye week to make adjustments and correct mistakes and I think the Dolphins will be fine tuning what they did well in week 1. Look for the Dolphins to make a few more 'Big Plays' and win the game.
Predicted outcome: Dolphins 38 - Grens 24
In week 1 there were a few surprises and of the surprises both the Sooners and Warriors delivered one. Mississauga came out of the gate a little sluggish against the always dangerous Jr. Mustangs from London, but managed to find their groove using multiple formations on offense to confuse the London defense and getting key turnovers. The Warriors managed to squeak out a 28-21 win against London showing they'll be a force to be reckoned with in the East and the entire league. The Sooners opened their first ever season against a much hyped Hamilton Jr. Ti-Cats team and showed nothing else but to be competitive with what many thought could be the team to beat this year in JV (Hamilton). The sooners are very young with a lot of 2002's and put up a great fight last week. The Sooners had troubles putting up points and proved that it can be a struggle to maintain drives in 3-down football. I think this game will prove who could be on their way to an East title this year and who might just need a year of development for their very young team. The Warriors claim another win and goes to 2-0 to start their season.
Predicted outcome: Warriors 34 - Sooners 10