The Montreal Royals have accomplished what the ÉTS Le Génie team did two years ago by making it to the Joe Pistilli Cup final in their rookie year in the league. The team with a short bench – only 26 players were dressed for the game – but a lot of heart used the right strategy to beat the defending champions 16-0 at the Raiders home field. They will now face the South Shore Jr. Bruizers in the championship game on Saturday, October 29 in Ste-Julie starting at 7 pm.
The Royals started from their own 42-yd line after the opening kickoff and threw a 14-yd pass to James Arénas Michel on their first play from scrimmage. They would throw only five more passes for the rest of the game but the catch by Arénas Michel would stand as the only pass completion for the entire game. After that, they kept pounding the ball on the ground, using 56 rushing plays to gain 311 yards. On the opening drive, Kerven Laguerre did most of the work, helping the Royals get a first down at the Raiders 5-yd line. They went for it on 3rd and goal from the 1-yd line with a QB sneak but the Raiders defense shut the door and forced a turnover on downs. The Raiders then seemed to take advantage of the opportunity and they started moving the ball towards the center of the field but after six plays their drive stalled with two consecutive incomplete passes and they had to punt. The first quarter ended in a scoreless tie as Raiders were going two-and-out while the Royals were turning the ball over on downs.
However, early in the second quarter, the Royals moved 50 yards and into the red zone by handing the ball off to Dynell Pierre and Arénas Michel gave them all the points that they would need by kicking a 22-yd field goal for a 3-0 lead.
After the Raiders went two-and-out again, the Royals used the same offensive strategy that worked before and got into the red zone again. Their field goal attempt was blocked but the Raiders were called for offside, which gave the Royals a new set of downs. On the next play, Dynell Pierre got the handoff again and scored a touchdown on an 8-yd run to increase his team’s lead to 10-0.
On the ensuing possession, the Raiders started from their own 2-yd line, but on the first play the ball was fumbled by the receiver after making a catch in the flat and Max-Henley Philogène from the Royals picked it up and walked into the end zone for a defensive TD to make the score 16-0 (convert kick blocked).
In the second half, while the Raiders defense kept the Royals off the scoreboard and forced three turnovers, the Raiders offense continued to rely on the passing game, which was extremely difficult given the adverse weather conditions, and they could not put together any scoring drives. Their best opportunity came early in the fourth quarter when they got the ball at the Royals 20-yd line after Daniel Mancini recovered a fumble by the Royals punt returner. They got as close as five yards from the end zone but on a third and goal play, Nicholas Findlay got the ball but he was stopped two yards short of the goal line by the Royals defense.
The Raiders only got the ball one more time in the game as the Royals used up most of the clock on the ensuing possession, running 10 plays for 94 yards before finally turning the ball over on downs at the Raiders 14-yd line.
The Royals ground game was the story of the game with Dynell Pierre carrying the ball 21 times for 153 yards while James Arénas Michel had 12 carries for 75 yards.
01 – Medley Joseph breaks up a Raiders pass attempt
02 – Royals turn the ball over on downs near the Raiders end zone
03 – Royals QB under pressure from Raiders defenders
04 – Dynell Pierre carrying the ball on one of his 21 rushes
05 – Raiders defenders collide trying to make a interception
06 – Ryan Forest makes an interception