By Larry Moko
It was three celebrations rolled into one for Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School.
On Friday, Tonnos had a well-attended Homecoming and played the first night game at its new artificial turf sports field. And to top it off, the Titans senior football team picked up a victory in that contest, 37-20, over the St. Mary Crusaders.
Other Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association senior football action saw the Bishop Ryan Celtics defeat the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, 22-10, and the first-place St. Thomas More Knights blank the Cathedral Gaels, 34-0.
“This was an event,” Tonnos co-coach and general manager Mike Giftopoulos said. “It really was an amazing day for the students and our athletes. There was a lot of energy and buzz around the place.
“The first game under the lights was spectacular.”
The victory was the second in three starts for Tonnos this season, while the Crusaders dropped their fourth straight.
“In having a facility like this, we couldn’t be happier for the Bishop Tonnos community,” Giftopoulos said. “We’re really pleased with the direction that this program is going.”
St. Mary took a 10-7 lead into the intermission but couldn’t stop the Single Wing of the Titans in the second half.
“It was a unique offence,” St. Mary coach Sean Dennison said of Tonnos’s attack. “Our kids were having a tough time adjusting. We watched the film, but there’s nothing like seeing the real thing. Tonnos did a very good job. It worked for them. They’ve got the personnel for it. It’s smart.”
For the Titans, quarterback/safety Mark Randazzo scored three rushing touchdowns and tailback/corner Michael Arriama carried for two others. Max Capriotti added four converts and a 20-yard field goal.
“Those kids are work horses,” Tonnos co-coach Frank Miscione said of Randazzo and Arriama. “They played both ways. I can’t give them enough credit. They motivated the offence.
“Randazzo is a natural athlete. When he touches the ball, special things happen. Defences tend to key on him, but Arriama picked up the slack. He has a great positive attitude and is a real leader.”
Randazzo’s 68-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the third quarter gave Tonnos a 21-13 lead. And Arriama, who often took direct snaps from centre, gained over 100 yards along the ground.
“This was a big game,” said Arriama who is returning to high school football after not playing last year in Grade 11. “There are games on the schedule you have to win and we knew this was a must win.”
When asked about the Tonnos offence, Arriama said: “It’s clustered. No one (on the opposition) knows where it’s going.”
The Crusaders were led by quarterback Dylan Wilkins, who scored a pair of touchdowns, the second of which came on a run of 50 yards. Sean Darracot rounded out the St. Mary scoring with a pair of converts and field goals of 11 and 22 yards.
“There’s nothing he can’t do or won’t do,” Dennison said of Wilkins. “He’s a coach’s dream.”
Wilkins and Ethan Riggs also chipped in defensively with first-half interceptions for the Crusaders.
Giftopoulos said the lighting was fine, allowing players to perform as they should.