The 1999 season kicked off on August 28, with the Lions hosting the Kanata Knights at Merivale H.S.
First up were the Mosquitos. Kanata took this game 28-0, as the Lions were missing nine players from the line-up. The Tykes followed with a 27-14 loss, in an exciting encounter. Adam Gourgon gave all that he had in a scorching sun, scoring two touchdowns, while Chris Rutherford was outstanding on defence.
On Sunday, the result was the same as both the Pee-Wees and Bantams lost their season openers. The Pee-Wees played a thriller, losing the battle in the last minute of the game. Nick Lozano had some big catches for the Lions, and Mark Clostre starred on defence. The Bantams added many new players in the week prior to the first game, and although they dropped the game to the Knights, the team put up a great fight. Paolo Lavalle provided strong defence, while Jaime Henriquez led the rushing game on offence.
The following week-end, the Bantams would go down to the final seconds before falling to the West Ottawa Vikings. Another strong defensive effort allowed the team to stay in the game. Newcomer Sean Kovitch made a big contribution to the defence, and rookie Liban Sheikhaden had the crowd cheering as he raced to the end zone after pulling in a deflected pass.
The bad luck continued for the Pee-Wees, as the Vikings would score the deciding points on the last play of the first half. Danny Cama led the rushing game for the Lions, and Taich Parsons-Grimes helped the strong defence contain the speedy Vikings.
The determined running of Geoff Turnbull was not enough to lift the Mosquitos past the Vikings. Several dropped passes hurt offensive drives, and despite a fine effort from Andy Hammoud, the defence could not shut down the West Ottawa crew.
Bel-Air's first win of the season came from the Tykes, with a 25-0 victory over the Vikings. Evan Bilow, Andy To, Stevie Anderson, and Chris Honeywell scored majors for the Lions, while Wassim Sayegh and Dillon Potter helped the defence to a shut-out.
The Tykes would make it two in a row with a 32-18 victory over the Bell Warriors. Matt Gourgon had a key third down catch to enable the Lions to maintain the lead late in the game, while Kyle Matthews had a strong game on defence. Earlier that morning the Mosquitos got into the win column with a 25-0 shut-out of the Warriors. David Lalonde continued his improved play in this game, and the diversified offence of coach Flo Costanzo left the Warriors unable to defend Bel-Air's many weapons.
The third victory of the week-end came in yet another thriller from the Pee-Wees. A long touchdown run from Chris Lewis early in the game gave the Lions the lead, but the Warriors fought back to threaten in the dying minutes. The return of Nahom Kidanemariam inspired the defence to tighten up and hold off the Warriors in their final drive, to preserve the first Pee-Wee win of the year.
The Bantams showed improvement on offence with new runners Rodex Gustave, and receivers Greg Druce and Travis Peart. However, they were unable to get into the end zone, and despite a strong game from Mike Maitland, the defence eventually wore down as the Warriors squeaked out the win.
In October, Bel-Air Tykes (11:15) and Mosquitos (9:30) play at Canterbury on the 2nd, with the Pee-Wees (1:00) and Bantams (2:45) playing East Ottawa Generals at Robinson Field on the 3rd.
Thanksgiving Monday at 1:30 the Tykes play North Gloucester Giants at Merivale followed by the same match-up at Bantam at 3:00.
The Orleans Bengals visit Merivale for Mosquito and Tyke game Saturday morning on the 16th, followed Sunday afternoon by the Pee-Wees and Bantams.
The regular season concludes for the Mosquitos and Tykes at the Sportsplex on the 23rd against Myers Riders. The Bantams play Sunday morning at 9:30 at the Sportsplex, and the Pee-Wees Sunday afternoon at 1:00 at Sir Robert Borden H.S.
For more information on Bel-Air Football, call John at 956-8424, or visit our web site at www.magma.ca/~belair.
Local Lion PeeWee team in action.