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GTA too much for Outlaws in finals

August 20, 2017 - Say this about the GTA All-Stars, they are a confident bunch.

So sure of itself is the Toronto-area pigskin club that it premade T-shirts trumpeting the team's third consecutive Northern Football Conference title, before the championship game against the Tri-City Outlaws was even played.

The All-Stars avoided the potential egg-on-face moment by ousting the Outlaws, 50-14, on Saturday night at Chinguacousy Park in Brampton.

When the game clock expired, the All-Stars broke open the box of shirts that read "3-Peat NFC Champions" and passed them out to celebrating players.

"This was a big challenge," said GTA quarterback Jason Bertrand, who once handled the helm for Mount Allison University. "Tri-City kept it close and kept fighting and they were right with us until the end."

The All-Stars came into the contest with some swagger.

The two-time defending champs swept through the regular season with an 8-0 record and added a pair of victories in the playoffs to cruise to the title game.

They were bigger, had a deeper bench and their roster boasted some former professional players, such as safety Anthony Cannon, who spent three years with the National Football League's Detroit Lions, and former B.C. Lions receiver Akeem Foster, among others.

It was a lot to take early on for the Outlaws.

The visitors were trapped in their own zone for the entire first quarter and failed to get a first down, but only trailed 7-0 thanks to their dedicated defence. 

GTA tacked on another major before Tri-City settled down and started pushing the ball up the field in the second quarter.

Pivot Dan Daigle connected with receiver Anthony Powless for a 14-yard end zone catch midway through the frame, marking the first time the All-Stars had relinquished a single point during their playoff run.

And Tri-City wasn't finished.

The defence held the All-Stars off the scoreboard in the third quarter, while Daigle delivered a 45-yard bomb to Powless to set up first and goal. Teammate Ryan Watt-Dennis cashed on a quick pass, while Pete Nikolic made good on a two-point conversion gamble for a 21-14 GTA lead.

But the wheels fell off in the fourth.

GTA exploded for 29 points on touchdowns by Phil Dixon, Jahmeek Murray, Kevin Walsh and Quincy Van De Cruize, while kicker Ovi Coca added four converts and a rouge.

"Mental mistakes really shot us in the foot in this one," said Outlaws coach Gary Hudson. "It really just fell apart in the last 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. It's tough. In order to be the champs you have to beat the champs and they're a good squad."

Tri-City lost in the semifinals last season and Hudson says the club can take some solace by taking a step forward this time around. The team hadn't been to an NFC championship since 2011 before Saturday.

"That was the best defence that we have ever played against," said Daigle. "We should be proud of this. I thought it was a good effort."

The GTA All-Stars now head to the Canadian Major Football League final against a yet to be determined team from Alberta on Sept. 9.

jbrown@therecord.com ,

Twitter: @BrownRecord

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Championship Bound

Aug 16, 2017 - Chris Newsome remembers the work ethic.

Oh, the Tri-City Outlaws had all-stars the last time the club made the Northern Football Conference championship six years back, but there was no attitude on the field.

"The whole atmosphere was that we just picked up our lunch pails and went to work," said the team's defensive co-ordinator and assistant coach.

Newsome, who coached that 2011 winning squad, sees similarities this time around as the Outlaws get set to return to the final against the GTA All-Stars Saturday at Brampton's Chinguacousy Park at 6 p.m.

"It's the same kind of attitude that we had back then," he said. "We have stars but everyone is equal and there is a family environment."

The Outlaws will need every advantage they can get if they plan to knock off the mighty All-Stars as the GTA bunch has yet to lose this season.

The team went 8-0 in regular season action, outscored opponents 307 to 41 and has added a pair of wins in the playoffs, including a 35-0 pasting of the Sarnia Imperials to reach the title game.

Tri-City is 8-2 so far and advanced to the championship thanks to a one-sided 42-23 semifinal victory against the Oakville Longhorns this past weekend at Rogers Field.

"It's pretty huge," said Newsome. "For some of our guys this is unchartered territory."

The Outlaws were crowned NFC champs in 2005, 2008 and 2011. The last run saw the club add its only national title in franchise history after the lads beat the Calgary Wolfpack 31-14 in the Canadian Major Football League final.

That championship squad graduated most of its top players, and the team has been rebuilding ever since.

"For the most part there are only one or two guys that are still around from 2011 and know what it has been like," said Newsome.

The Outlaws and All-Stars did not clash during the regular season, making scouting tough.

"It's difficult because you don't know what to expect," said Newsome. "What I've heard is that they are very aggressive. The defence has been their driver all season long."

But GTA is also in the dark.

And Newsome is hoping he can work that to the team's advantage.

"On the one hand you don't know what to expect from them, but they don't know what to expect from us," he said.

One thing is clear — the Outlaws are improving.

The second-place club has been getting stronger every game since dropping their final tilt of the regular season and has progressed through the playoffs relatively injury-free.

That gives Newsome hope.

"We're finally at the point where we have all the right bodies in at the right places and we can finally do the things we want offensively and defensively that we've been working on all season long."

jbrown@therecord.com ,

Twitter: @BrownRecord

Playoff Time

Jul 31, 2017 - The Steel City Patriots are in a pivot panic.

The Northern Football Conference club has burned through three quarterbacks this season and will turn to its fourth — a converted receiver — when the Hamilton bunch takes on the Tri-City Outlaws in quarter-final action Saturday at Rogers Field in Cambridge at 7 p.m.

"In this league, you have to have a No. 1 quarterback," said Patriots owner and defensive co-ordinator Phil Costantini. "When you're playing quarterback carousel like we have the entire season, it's difficult, especially on the defence."

The Outlaws still expect the Pats to be pesky, even if they're hurting at the helm.

"They always play us pretty hard and they're a tough-nosed team," said Tri-City boss Gary Hudson. "It's the playoffs and pretty much a new season for everyone."

The Outlaws finished the regular season with a record of 6-2 and tied the Oakville Longhorns for second place in the nine-team league. They haven't seen the Patriots since a 37-19 victory to kick off the schedule about two months back.

A lot has changed with the Steel City crew.

Starting quarterback Denzel Rocha suffered a season-ending high ankle sprain in Week 2 while backup Leroy Williams hit sick bay about two weeks later. The team then inked youngster Ethan Belbeck only to see him hobble off the field soon after.

The barrage of bruises forced the Pats to turn to wideout Sean Squires down the stretch and into the playoffs. His quarterbacking experience?

"The last two games," said Costantini, whose club was a respectable 1-1 when Rocha went down but lost their final six games of the campaign.

"All things considered, he has kept us in there. We have a pretty powerful defence so we've been competitive."

And they'll need that defence against the Outlaws, who boast the league's second best offence with 255 points in eight games.

Quarterback has been a strength for Tri-City, with deadly Dan Daigle delivering in the air and, lately, on the ground, too.

"There is always room for improvement but I'd say he's one of the top two (QBs) in the league," said Hudson.

The Outlaws head into the post-season with a relatively healthy bench and some momentum after winning three of their final four games.

Costantini is hoping his Pats can grind out an upset.

"We just have to worry about getting first downs and eating the clock," he said. "That's going to be our game plan."

jbrown@therecord.com ,

Twitter: @BrownRecord

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Step 4: Complete

Step four, complete!

The Tri-City Outlaws wowed everyone at Rogers Field in Riverside Park Saturday evening as they faced off with the Sarnia Imperials, but ended up short by just four points.

On the offence, Josh Reason (27) tore the field up with 10 of the 15 carries for a total of 59 rushing yards, helped out by his fellow Outlaws Jordan Lipke (24) who carried for a total of eight yards, while Marc Fernandes (9) pitched in and added another 10 yards.

Outlaw’s fans who were brave enough to face the chilly evening would also have chills sent down their backs as Sarnia quickly threw 26 points onto the board, leaving the Tri-City Outlaws at 0 points at halftime. A quick regrouping with their coaches during halftime was all that was needed, and the men rapidly turned the game around by punching in three touchdowns in the third quarter and another three in the four quarter.

Dan Daigle (11) managed to complete 27 of his 46 passing attempts for a grand 282 yards that were split up between the Outlaw’s speedy receivers. Shawn Ashe (22) received seven of Daigle’s passes for 68 yards, Pete Nikolic 15) snagged six catches for 77 yards, Anthony Powless (89) managed to rack up six catches for 46 yards, and Ryan Watt-Dennis (8) yanked three passes out of the air for a total of 20 yards. Ashe, Watt-Dennis, and Nikolic all scored one touchdown each, while Powless tossed in two touchdowns and 2 points.

On kickoffs, Powless (89) returned for a total of 45 yards, Watt-Dennis (8) returned a total of 75 yards, and Roly Tremblay (3) returned for 10 yards. On punt returns, Jake Egers (7) returned for three yards, while Watt Dennis (8) returned for 28.

Moving on to the defensive side of the Outlaws, it was clear that men in the gold and black had their work cut out for them, and they delivered. Tai Pham (0) completed not one, not two, not three, but six tackles that included one battled ball. This was followed by Marc Fernandes (9) who made four tackles and an interception for 10 returned yards, Egers (7) who also made four tackles and one fumble recovery that had the fans riled up, and Derek Mulder (91) who completed the trifecta with four tackles and a massive quarterback sack that drove the imperials back five yards.

Tom Bailey (56), Regan Matson (50), Shawn Diebold (20), and Nick Romanick (75) each completed two tackles, while Deryl Kelly (5), Tyler Lipke (92), Jesse Collins (81), Seth Ofori (23), and Osman Sokolovic (4) each completed one tackled each.

A great time was had by all during the roller coaster of a game, and the Outlaws have another shot at the Imperials this upcoming Saturday in Sarnia.

Step 2: Complete

Good afternoon Outlaw Nation! In case you haven't caught up already, the Outlaws are now 2-0 as they defeated the Oakville Longhorns 33-26. Here's your recap of last night's game!

There was no stopping the Tri-City Outlaws last night at their home opener under the lights at Rogers Field as they faced off with the Oakville Longhorns.

The Outlaws offense wreaked havoc right away in the first quarter of the game with Tai Pham (0) scoring a safety for two points. Pham is a former Windsor Lancer who played for Lancer Nation as an OUA men’s varsity football athlete.

Quarterback Dan Daigle (11) threw for a mighty total of 416 yards, completing 26 of 36 passes, and the Outlaws decided to tear up the field with 27 rushes for a total of 147 yards. Outstanding runningback Josh Reason (27), former C.C.I. Fighting Owl, had 13 carries for 79 yards, as well as attempting for two touchdowns.

The second quarter called upon former Goldenhawk receiver, Anthony Powless (89), and he delivered. With 11:34 on the clock, Daigle threw to Powless that resulted in a touchdown. With the help of toolbox Outlaw Marc Fernandes (9) who plays linebacker, the Outlaws completed a convert for one extra point, which sat the men down at 9-6. Powless ran for a whopping total for 139 yards.

Not long after, receiver Ryan Watt-Dennis (8), another former C.C.I. Owl and Grand River Predator, connected with Daigle’s throw and added another six points to the score. This put the Outlaws at 15-6, with Fernandes completing another convert for two points this time. Watt-Dennis ran for a staggering total of 84 yards last night, and almost captured two more touchdowns. With just 12 seconds left on the board, running back Roly Tremblay who dressed in 45 scored the last touchdown before halftime, with golden boy Shawn Ashe (22) adding the cherry on top by snatching up two points, putting the Outlaws at 25-6 at the buzzer. Ashe kept putting the pedal to the metal by playing multiple positions, and topped out at 140 yards that included a touchdown in the third quarter with the extra points added by Powless. This landed the Outlaws the final score of 33-26 after the Longhorns managed to score four touchdowns.

The Outlaws’ defense put a stop to the Longhorns and shook them up quite a bit. Defensive Back Jake Egers (7), made three tackles as well as an interception that had the men fired up. Egers is well known in the area; he’s a Waterloo-Oxford Crusaders Alumni, and has played for both the Grand River Predators and the Hamilton Hurricanes. Fernandes also made three tackles, and made two interceptions for a total of 20 yards. Put this guy anywhere on the field, and he’ll make the play! Tai Pham made the most tackles last night, completing four along with the two-point safety in the first quarter.

A big play was made by new addition Nick Hauser, dressing in 96, who broke a 17-yard carry for a first down, missing being tackled in the process. All eyes were also on returning troublemaking defensive back Diebold (20), who ran a key pass defense on our own three-yard line that put a halt to an attempted touchdown by the Longhorns.

The Tri-City Outlaws have completed Step Two of their conquest, and they plan on working quietly behind the scenes as they prepare for Step Three: capturing another win as they play the Toronto Raiders next Saturday in Toronto. More details to follow!

ONE TEAM, ONE UNIT, ONE GOAL!

GO OUTLAWS!

PRACTICE UPDATE...

Thursday June 1st practice will be at the temporary location of Wilson Park in Kitchener. See below map.

 
 
 

If You're Reading This...

The Tricity Outlaws won!

If you’re reading this, the Tricity Outlaws won!

With a score of 38-19, the men in black and gold managed to safely tuck their first win of the season away and are already itching for this upcoming Saturday’s home opener. Saturday’s game against the Steel City Patriots is the first win right off the bat for the Outlaw’s new head coach, Gary Hudson. Coach Hudson knows just how great the team is, and can be, if he keeps up the grind. His first win serves as the lowest bar that has been set for this team, and he plans on passing each bar after every game.

Overall, the Outlaws shined on both the offensive and defensive lines. The team ran for a total of 102 yards, of which 80 yards were picked up by standout running back, Josh Reason (27) during 18 carries. Quarterback Dan Daigle threw for 26 passes, of which 23 were completed for an overall of 330 yards.

Five touchdowns cinched points on the board, all thanks to Daigle’s arm and some sticky fingers. Rookie wide receiver Anthony Lee Powless (89) demolished the Steel City Patriot’s defense by catching six passes for a total of 135 yards. Powless was able to throw 12 points on the board with two touchdowns. Outlaw’s speed demon, wide receiver Ryan Watt-Dennis, also caught six passes for a total of 74 yards and two touchdowns in the second half of the game. Another former Goldenhawk who’s still kicking and killing it, Shawn Ashe (22) who plays slotback, caught six passes for 98 yards that resulted in a final touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game.

The Outlaw’s defensive line fought off the SCP’s offensive line fiercely. Two rookies stood out like a sore thumb on defense: Linebacker/Defensive End Tai Pham (0), a former CIS player from Windsor, and Defensive End Thomas Corneil (98). Pham made three tackles with a sack for 10 yards, and Corneil ate the Patriot’s offense by making four tackles with a sack for five yards. Returning Outlaw veteran Osman Sokolovic (4) made nine outstanding tackles, along with fellow veteran Deryl Kelly (5) who made seven major tackles.

Steel City’s quarterback also didn’t stand a chance against the dangerous and well-known safety Jake Egers (7), linebacker Marc Fernandes (9), and defensive back Shawn Diebold (20), who had three passes picked off by the black and gold.

The Tricity Outlaws can’t put their feet up just yet though! This upcoming Saturday June 3rd, the men are having their home opener as they face the Oakville Longhorns who are also 1-0 so far this season. Come watch two bulls butt heads at the Outlaw’s home field, Rogers Field, in Cambridge for the 7 PM game. Check out the details below, and don’t forget to support local sports!

KICKOFF: 7 PM SHARP

Location:
Rogers Field
1900 Rogers Drive, Cambridge

Admission Fees:
Adults (17 and over): $10.00
Children (6-16): $5.00
Children (Under 6): FREE
Minor Football Children in Team Jerseys (Cambridge Lions or Kitchener Predators,Guelph jr Gryphons): FREE

5th Quarter:
Boston Pizza
14 Pinebush Road, Cambridge
KIDS WELCOME

Writer: Jess Pecsi

 
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Step One Approaches...

The Outlaws are everything but stressed as the countdown until game day continues. Bouncing back from a heartbreaking season ender last year by coming up only one yard short in the semi-finals, the team has shaken things up a bit, moved a few things left and some to the right, and are ready to demolish whatever teams come their way. The first step the team has taken has been appointing a new head coach.

Outlaw’s former beloved head coach, Lee Becker, has since handed over the reigns to fellow longtime Outlaw Gary Hudson. Coach Hudson’s fierce and relentless attacking style will prove to be an asset this season as the team of 2017 continues to work tirelessly to make sure they execute plays the right way. He’s very familiar with the fact that the Northern Football Conference is comprised of teams that have always hated playing the Outlaws, and he’s making sure that this season will be no different. Instead of worrying about how nice the uniforms should look or how to celebrate like other teams are, Coach Hudson continues to strengthen the Outlaw’s dynamic, and also managed to reel in some more talent.

The Outlaws welcome a few new bodies who want nothing more than to make their rivals regret the day they played them. They are pleased to announce new additions: Anthony Lee Powless, Nickolas Romanick, Chase Purst, Jordan Lipke, Tyler Lipke, Jordan Serson, Kyle Hynes, Tai Pham, Matt Steel, Brandon Gray, and Pete Nikolic.

The chemistry is evident, and the jumps in improvement prove that the team is staying true to their new motto: One Team, One Unit, One Goal. Sacrifices will be made, tears will fall, and blood will spill. At the end of the day, it will be the team in black and gold that will have risen to the occasion. To get started, the Outlaws will face Hamilton’s Steel City Patriots this Saturday in Hamilton at Mohawk Stadium with kickoff at 6 p.m. Come take a roadtrip with us and support the Tricity Outlaws by wearing the team colours, and bring your outdoor voice! Below are the details for Saturday’s game on May 27th.

Location: 
Mohawk Sports Complex No: 1
770 Upper Kenilworth Avenue

Admission Fees:
Adults: $10.00
Seniors/Students (13-18): $5.00
Children (12 and under): FREE

5th Quarter: 
Fool’n Flagon
2255 Barton Street East, Hamilton
KIDS WELCOME

Writer: Jessica Pecsi

 
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First announcement of 2017...

In 2016 the outlaws started off slow dropping some games that we really should have won. The season looked like it was going to be a long one. However, things started to change and we came together as a team started playing as a unit. We successfully made it to the semis but ended up coming up a few yards short and losing. The men left it all on the field that night and we left wanting more, knowing that we as a team have what it takes to get back to the top of the mountain. At our first indoor practice of 2017, we announced that the head coach of the team will be long-time Outlaw Gary Hudson. Coach Hudson brings an aggressive attacking style in all phases of the game. With a great coaching staff to support him, the team is ready to do what ever it takes.

"My goal as the 2017 Head Coach of the Gold 'n Black is to pick up where we left off last season, tweak some things, and put a competitive, hard working, entertaining football team on the field that will compete." -Gary Hudson

One Team, One Unit, One Goal.