The Championship Loss

From 2004 until 2006, the peewee Huronia Stallions won three consecutive South Central Ontario Football League (SCOFL) crowns.

The junior varsity team won SCOFL championships in 2004 and 2005.

The 2005 junior team may have been the best unit the Stallions ever fielded. The team was dominant from the start, and had backups who would later become university players.

The two top players were linebacker Andy Algar and quarterback Kyle Graves. Both were eligible to play junior in 2006. However, the team elected to move the two elite 16-year-old players to the varsity team where both were starters.

Algar started at middle linebacker and was the defense's signal caller, and Graves had an outstanding season at QB.

The varsity team went 6-2 and won the Ontario Varisty Football League's Eastern Division title.

The junior team was solid as well and managed to advance to the championship game. The team struggled to score points offensively, but had a very strong defence led by halfback Kyle Plummer and linebackers Vince Lonsdale, Tom Vanderwerk and Jordan Depratto.

The Stallions defeated archrival Burlington Stampeders for the third time that season with a 9-7 victory in a close, physical battle to advance to the championship. The highlight of the game was slotback Jess Tonn's touchdown on a gadget play on the first play from scrimmage.

The team advanced to play the York-Simcoe Young Bucs in the championship game. There was tremendous pressure on the coaching staff from parents and players to play Graves and Algar in the junior championship game. The opponent did not have a varsity team and were led by their 16-year-old players.

The coaches decided that winning at all costs was not an acceptable route and decided to go with the players that got them there. Graves and Algar had not played junior all season and it just wasn't right to sit down players who had worked so hard all season to contribute to the championship berth.

The game was a seesaw contest that saw the Stallions clinging to a four-point lead in the dying minutes.

York-Simcoe then pounded away and scored a late TD at the end of the game to win the championship.

Despite the loss, the Stallions had a very successful season and the lesson that values and character are more important than wins and losses was imprinted on the young athletes.

Next year marks the 20th season for the Huronia Stallions. In the last few weeks, assistant coach Jason Romisher, the Stallions' media and recruiting co-ordinator has been outlining the football program and what it has meant to the Barrie area.