WALLACEBURG – Simon Yazbeck's first trip to the end zone Saturday didn't count, but he made sure his second did.
He barrelled eight yards up the middle for the winning touchdown with 1:21 left as the Wallaceburg Tartans beat the Ursuline Lancers 14-11 in the Kent junior football final.
“I wasn't stopping till I got in there,” he said.
Yazbeck thought he'd scored the Tartans' first touchdown with 9 1/2 minutes left.
He used a late surge to reach the end zone from 15 yards out, but the officials ruled the play dead at the goal-line.
“I just took a little too long,” Yazbeck said. “They blew the whistle. But I did fall in.”
Brady Pataki scored on the next play to start the Tartans' comeback from an 11-point deficit at Wallaceburg District Secondary School.
“I figured once we scored, it would give us some confidence,” Tartans head coach Rob MacLachlan said. “The longer they kept us off the board, it gave them more confidence.”
Pataki set up the winning TD with a 50-yard pass to Yazbeck after taking a handoff from quarterback Brad Maxim. The Tartans put the trick play in their playbook only two days earlier, hoping to throw something new at the Lancers in their third meeting.
“We figured we had one chance to try that play, and it worked,” MacLachlan said.
The Lancers looked ready to win their fourth straight title until the Tartans finally found the end zone in the fourth quarter.
“It just takes a couple drives,” said Yazbeck, who ran 14 times for 100 yards. “You get a good drive and you're right back in it. The boys get so pumped up.”
The Tartans won the season series 2-1. All three games were decided by seven points or less.
“It was a good matchup,” said Lancers quarterback Rob Wright, who was 7-of-11 for 85 yards. “They're a great team. They have a bunch of great guys. They're filled with talent.
“We had a lot of great guys, too. It could have gone either way. It's just who gets the bounces in a game like this. ... Lady Luck was on their side today.”
Aaron Zimmer of the Lancers opened the scoring on a 40-yard run early in the first quarter. Jeremy Warnock added the two-point convert.
Warnock kicked a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter for an 11-0 halftime lead.
“We won the first half, they won the second,” Lancers head coach Jim O'Brien said. “Another very tight contest between the two teams. We had our chances to put them away in the second half and we didn't get it done.”
The Lancers scored seven TDs in their two regular-season games with the Tartans, but they couldn't pad their lead in the second half.
“That defence bailed us out,” MacLachlan said. “Without that defence, we don't win the game.”
Trevor Bogaert led Wallaceburg's defence with seven tackles, Pataki had six and Robert Griffioen made five. Dan Metayer had four and a fumble recovery.
Marc Kellett of the Tartans ran for a team-high 102 yards. Brad Maxim completed five of six passes for 43 yards and kicked two extra points.
Zimmer led the Lancers with 95 rushing yards. Warnock had five catches for 64 yards.
Alex Valihora had six tackles and an interception for Ursuline, Zach Kaniecki made seven tackles, Tyler Todino made six and Matt Anderson had an interception.