By Larry Moko
Ottawa head coach Jamie Barresi saw another example Friday of the talent and versatility that Mark Randazzo of the Bishop Tonnos Titans will be bringing to his Gee-Gees Ontario university football program.
Randazzo, who plans to follow in the footsteps of his cousins Mike and Sam Randazzo who also played for the Gee-Gees, scored two touchdowns to lift Tonnos to a 21-19 victory over the visiting Bishop Ryan Celtics in a Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior quarter-final playoff game.
The Titans, however, had to hold their breath on the final play until it was determined that a Celtics’ 33-yard field- goal attempt had gone wide right for a single.
“It was the first playoff win here ever for the seniors,” Randazzo said as he proudly carried a Tonnos flag during the celebrations.
The opening touchdown by Randazzo came on a one-yard plunge and the second happened when he recovered an on-side punt, returning it 45 yards for six points.
“(Randazzo) is an outstanding player,” said Barresi, who scouted the contest from field level. “We’ve been watching him for quite some time. He does a lot of things. He runs the ball well, he’s a good defensive player and he’s probably faster than people think.”
Randazzo’s fourth-quarter on-side punt recovery gave Tonnos a 21-11 lead with 7 minutes, 39 seconds remaining.
“It was a beautiful punt (by Max Capriotti),” Randazzo said. “I timed the snap and ran down field as fast as I could. The ball dropped right in front of the punt returner and into my hands. We put that play in a couple of weeks ago.”
Said Barresi: “The coaches did a good job of orchestrating that (on-side punt recovery) for him.”
Randazzo, who started at quarterback and defensive halfback, said he’ll be committing to the University of Ottawa during Vanier Cup weekend. “Both of my parents (Sherry MacIsaac and Dan Randazzo) are Ottawa alumni,” Randazzo said. “They went for law school. That’s what I’ll be following.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Celtics got on the board when Jacob Patten’s 35-yard field goal try went wide for a single. A 58-yard run by Michael Ariemma then set up Randazzo’s second-quarter rushing touchdown.
The only scoring of the third quarter was a 38-yard field goal by Patten.
Ariemma’s two-yard touchdown run made it 14-4 before running back Adrian Allen replied for Bishop Ryan with a 10-yard TD run.
The Celtics final touchdown came with 6:05 left on a brilliant 63-yard scamper by quarterback Patten.
“Patten is a spectacular player,” Randazzo said. “The best you can do is contain him and hope he doesn’t bump it outside.”
Trailing 21-18, Bishop Ryan’s final drive started at its own 16-yard line with 59 seconds remaining. Patten’s running ability on the next four plays moved the ball to the Tonnos 26 with 4.4 seconds on the clock.
“I tried to keep the team calm in the huddle,” Patten said of the final drive by BR. “We did well in doing that. We all worked together and we put ourselves in a good position to come back and win the game.
In other HWCAA senior quarter-final playoff games, the St. Mary Crusaders upset the Cathedral Gaels, 23-14, and the Cardinal Newman Cardinals defeated the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, 28-7.
The first-place St. Thomas More Knights earned the first-round playoff bye.
In semifinals, on Friday, Nov. 10, St. Mary will travel to St. Thomas More and Newman is scheduled to play host to Tonnos.