The Cumberland Panthers offense has been rolling for a while now aside from a few speed bumps and this past week against the Warriors, it’s been full speed ahead. QB Ryan Licandro had an outstanding game passing the football throwing over 40 times for 350+ yards and 4 touchdowns - he was slinging the ball all day long and found numerous weapons sharing the ball around beautifully. The Panthers run game was ineffective but it wasn’t needed with the way Licandro was throwing the football. Every team in the league is always trying to run the ball better and I expect Cumberland will be looking to improve as well in the upcoming weeks. Out wide #7 Kevin Victome is clearly proving he's one of the best playmakers in the league and has help with his WR cast. The Cumberland defense had a stellar game against Mississauga making things difficult for the Warriors QB and runningbacks all day long; this defense continues to improve every week and their talented front 7 is finally playing to their potential. More than 10 Panthers registered a tackle on the weekend and nobody stood out because everyone was swarming to the football and making plays. On the back end Cumberland got 2 interceptions from; Justice Koradic and Conor Macdonald which helped their offense capitalize and put more points on the board. I expect this Cumberland defense to keep improving week in and week out, they'll be a dangerous group come playoffs when the games matter a little more.
Kingston has been a weird team to judge all year long and for a team that hasn't won a game yet they have a surprisingly effective offense but they seem too young and inexperienced to do any damage this year. On offense they have multiple QBs that take snaps and hearing how young this roster is, I can only say positive things about getting multiple QBs reps. That being said, the Grens will need more out of their QB position though, in 3 down football you cannot be missing open receivers and putting yourself in 2nd and long. Both quarterbacks turned the ball over and it ended up costing them because the Stamps continued to put up points, if the Grens want to be a good offense they can’t turn it over. In the run game Kingston had a decent day but they were playing from behind all game. Calvin DuChene had a good day with 15 carries for 80+ yards and gave the Grens hope that they found themselves a runningback. On defense Kingston gives up too many yards in both the run and pass game, starting with the front 7 though they need to be more aggressive and force teams into less manageable 2nd downs. Hunter Bannon and Braeden Cruji had good games against the Stamps collecting 10 and 8 tackles respectively. On the backend the Grens will need to force turnovers, with a young and inexperienced team extra possessions is crucial and Kingston doesn't get nearly enough. Expect this game to be close at the half.
Cumberland is a talented and aggressive team, I expect them to make a championship push this year. The young Grens will hang around for 2 quarters or so but the talent and explosiveness of Victome will be the difference
Week 7 prediction: Panthers 41 - Grens 21
In what I would call the upset of the season so far last week the Sooners fell to Durham 17-7 - I know Durham is 3-2 but the talent on this Sooners roster is too good to only score 7 points against any defense. The Sooners offense will key in on runningback #1 John Lubemba moving forward and make either Ottawa QB beat them through the air. Both Bryce Russell and Wesley Tshimanga combined to go 5/14 for 89 yards and two interceptions which is just simply not good enough to win games in 3 down football. The difference in this football game was the turnovers by Ottawa and few extra plays made by Durhams QB; sometimes you need your QB to make a play. Out wide the Sooners haven't got enough production out of their guys either, I notice that Ottawa is playing power football and not utilizing their athletes at wide receiver nearly enough. The Sooners offensive line was pretty good last week giving up 0 sacks and still running the ball for 189 yards as a team; Lubemba accounted for 123 of those yards. On defense there’s not much the Sooners can do considering they're on the field constantly and rarely have good field position to work with. Ottawa's defense rushes the passer at a good rate but will need to turn teams over down the stretch to win football games. Their QBs and pass game will continue to get them into bad situations. The Sooners front 7 is very big and talented, they make life difficult on opposing OL's the entire game, but will need help from their playmakers behind them to make it worth it.
The Stampeders kept rolling last week beating the Grenadiers of Kingston to the tune of 46-28 in an offensive showdown. The Stampeders continue to show that if you want to get in a shootout with their offense and QB Keagan Hall they are more than willing and will more likely than not come out on top. Hall finished 12/17 with 198 yards and 3 scores, he continues his great season with another 3 touchdown game. The Stampeders on the outside have depth and athleticism from multiple guys and you never know which one will breakout or make a big play when needed, Stamps best WR #21 Liam Keery had 2 grabs for 32 yards and the team still put up 269 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. Reid Matthew #83 and #85 Kenny Sproat both had great games for the Stamps proving that they have multiple weapons and no matter who you key on others will beat you. In the run game Josh Munoz continued his thumper mentality rushing 13 times for 100+ yards and continually breaking tackles and wearing down the Kingston defense on a hot day. The Stampeders defense will absolutely need to be better down the stretch against better teams because you can't expect to score 50 against the good defenses in this league. Giving up 11 first downs, 28 points and nearly 300 yards to the Kingston offense will not make the Stamps coaches and players very happy. Burlington’s ability on defense to turn teams over and capitalize on those turnovers is the biggest reason this team is 5-0 right now. Ethan Monaghan had 6 tackles and 2 picks himself while Owen Lacroix had a pick 6 to swing momentum even heavier Burlington’s way. I expect the Stamps coaches and players to demand more from their team. There’s no way a 5-0 team should be giving up that much offense to any given team.
Burlington will be better on defense then they were last week, Ottawa has great ability to run the ball and the Stamps are sometimes vulnerable to it. I expect Burlington’s offense to keep rolling but don’t be surprised if Lubemba tunes the Burlington defense up for 130-150 yards. Stamps win in a pretty decisive way.
Week 7 Prediction: Stamps 34 - Sooners 14
Cambridge will be looking to stay undefeated this week after beating Niagara 21-2 in a defensive battle a week ago. The Cambridge offense wasn't able to score at will and hitting big play after big play. The Spears found a way to keep QB Michael Warner and company under control for the most part but Warner still had 3 passing TDs and nearly 200 yards. This was the Cambridge offensive lines worst game of the season in both pass protection and in the run game, Warner was constantly scrambling and had pressure rushing him out of the pocket. The Lions run game was not good enough and as I've said in prior weeks will need to be better if this team wants to win the championship. Ian Kuwibeara lead the group of Cambridge runningbacks that got touches with 8 carries for 35 yards. If this offense wants to continue to put up points against the good teams in this league they will need to establish the ability to run the ball on any given play; teams are for sure going to start keying in on the downfield pass game of Warner and his WRs. On defense the Lions continued their strong season as they did not allow a single point; the Lions gave up the safety for field position reasons. This Lions defense is extremely aggressive and talented up front and has the ability to stifle good run games very quickly. Middle linebacker Braeden Berry continues to have a great season and lead the team in tackles but there are many great players for the Lions contributing to their defenses success. Cambridge will be in the lead early in this game I expect for everybody on the roster to contribute this week.
The Gryphons were overmatched last week against a bigger and more experienced Ravens team but the Guelph offense was actually able to sustain drives and make plays against this team. QB Daniel Brown found the open guy quite a few times this week and you can see the improvement he’s made from week 1 to 5, the Gryphons OL and runningbacks were able to gain yards and give themselves manageable 2nd down situations. Runningback Kyle Ilczyna had a good day on the weekend with 4 carries for 50 yards but was unable to get in a rhythm with what the score of the game was. It looks as if Ilczyna will be the lead back and hopefully he and his OL can continue their success this week against Cambridge. The Guelph wide receivers all got involved on the weekend with 5 of them catching a pass, the leader of the group was Hadi El-Miari catching 4 passes for 90 yards. On defense the Gryphons are unable to do much, they give up an insane average in the run game which makes their lives difficult covering the pass. The bright spot of this defense is Luis Alfieri who is leading the entire league in tackles and pretty much makes every sideline to sideline tackle for this team. The Gryphons front 7 needs to be better against the run early in games to allow for their DBs and playmakers on the back end to get involved.
Cambridge will be up big and be up early, I still expect Guelph to continue improving but this is not the matchup for an improvement game. I think Warner will throw 2-3 touchdowns and be pulled but by that time the game could be in hand. Another tough one for the Gryphs.
Week 7 prediction: Lions 48 - Gryphs 7
London coming off a tough loss to a good Hamilton team will be looking to bounce back against Niagara which won't be easy by any means. The Mustangs offense is very one dimensional and its apparent when you watch them on film, it’s obvious to everyone that London wants to run the ball and if they are unable it is almost certainly a punt. Mustangs QBs Brian Harkness and Ethan Chambers combined have not been good enough this year but in fairness have not had the greatest pass protection or play calling, it's 3 down football and teams are still coming out in double TE sets and not even using them in the pass game. Timo Scheele made his return and had a good game with 14 carries for 91 yards and consistently made Ticats defenders miss or broke free of tackles, out wide the Stangs WRs Patrick Murphy and Cam Guest were the only two to catch a pass. On defense London continues to improve week in and week out, they have gotten much better since the beginning of the season but this past week their run defense got them into trouble. Allowing 176 yards and 2 scores on 14 carries will never be a recipe for success and only just allows teams to then run play action and beat you over the top, I expect London to be focusing on their run stop this week because Niagara is a team who wants to run the football. The Stangs kept a very high octane passing attack to minimal yards and didn't allow the Hamilton WRs and QB to beat them over the top which isnt an easy thing to do.
Niagara's offense isn't totally one dimensional but Cambridge did their best to make it seem that way when they played, Spears QB Ethan Reid had a tough time against the Cambridge pass rush always having to escape the pocket. He finished 14/31 for 135 yards and an INT, we all know Niagara runs the ball in order to setup play action and force linebackers to play downhill but when you stop their run it makes things difficult. The Spears were constantly in 2nd and long situations making Nyambiya irrelevant on half of the spears plays, On the defensive side of the ball the Niagara defense actually played pretty well, and actually made Cambridge one dimensional at times and they just made a few extra plays in the pass game which was ultimately the difference. Spears had 3 guys with 7+ tackles (Andre Lefleur, Zachary Bechard and Colin Howe) but it wasn't enough at the end of the day, the Spears defense even though they played a good game will need to do more against good offenses.
If the Spears defense wants to be elite they will need to get more pressure in opposing QBs and force turnovers for extra possessions.
Niagara is the more talented team and London's inability to pass the football will hurt them when the Spears slow down the run game. Look for Ethan Reid and his WRs to bounce back with a big day after Nyambiya softens the defense early.
Week 7 prediction: Spears 24 - Stangs 10