This article is courtesy of Telegraph Journal - Matthew Daigle
When the Saint John High School football team lined with less than a minute to play, looking to take the lead in the 12-man AAA provincial championship game, Ben Coates, 16, wasn't expected to get the ball.
As people on the sidelines were yelling to get him the ball as he was wide open, the Greyhounds' quarterback threw a dime to Coates for the game-winning touchdown, clinching the championship.
The Greyhounds defeated Kennebecasis Valley High School 27-24 on Saturday in Moncton. This marks the first AAA title in football for any Saint John school in 58 years and the first title for the Greyhounds since their AA provincial win in 2003.
"I think it's going to be amazing for the school, I think it's going to be great for the city, " said Coates. "It's hard to put into words how excited me and my team and my coaching staff really are."
Coates is in grade 11 and plays both running back and wide receiver for the Greyhounds. He said coming out of the huddle, his job in the play was to distract his man and hopefully open up a route for his teammates.
Instead, Coates caught the winning pass to seal the deal for the Greyhounds.
"As soon as he saw me, I just took off getting to the end zone and he put it in a place where I could make a play, " said Coates. "I was just thinking to myself 'we're about to bring home provincial championship. We were about to do it. We're about to make history' and it's it was just an incredible feeling."
With the previous season cancelled due to COVID-19, Coates said he and his teammates were glad to be back in pads. He said the season was a great experience thanks to the coaching staff saying they wouldn't have a successful season without them.
"The amount of work those guys do behind the scenes for us and just everything they do for us is honestly amazing, " said Coates. "They don't only make us better football players, but better young men.
"The Greyhounds and the Crusaders were evenly matched going into the championship game with the two best records in the AAA division. KV went 6-0 in the regular season while Saint John went 5-1 with their only loss coming from KV losing 24-20 back in September.
After defeating Tantramar Regional High School in the semi-finals, the rematch was set. Greyhounds coach Dave Grandy said it was a close game with momentum swings happening throughout the game. "It was a hard fought game, which went right down to the wire, " said Grandy. "The guys showed no quit all season long and in the last game against KV, they fought to the very end.
" After the touchdown and a two-point conversion to put them up by three with about 30 seconds to play. Grandy id h th t k th l d said when they took the lead, the game wasn't over and they needed to make a stop.
Trying to tie the game, the Crudaders kicker attempted a 50-yard field goal that missed said Grandy, winning them the game and the championship. Completing his 21st season coaching the team, he said he had many former players and coaches contacting him in the week before the game and are contacting him after the game.
"It means a lot to our program to bring the championship back to Saint John to our city, " said Grandy.
In the AA 12-man final, École Sainte-Anne defeated École L'Odyssée 21-12 and in the 9- man final, James M. Hill Memorial High School defeated Sussex Regional High School 23-21