Saturday, April 19, 2008


I have to send a heads-up to the progress of a familiar name from the old Simcoe Reformer beat, Scott Puillandre, who's hoping to be a starting linebacker for the Guelph Gryphons after missing more than a year with a serious knee injury.

Back in the day, 2004-05, Puillandre was the leader of the best football team Waterford, Ontario, ever had. It was almost comical how far past most of his high school opponents he was, not just physically but in terms of football IQ. Jeff Dertinger, the Reformer's sports reporter and now editor, would come back from covering a Waterford game just chortling at how many kids had been laid out by Puillandre (who was one of those "last name only guys").

Some of Scott's greatest hits actually came on kickoff coverage, not when he was playing defence. Waterford, like a lot of rural high schools, didn't have a serious soccer program, which lent to having a spotty kicking game. The way it's remembered is that when Waterford kicked off, the opposing returner would often move up to take the ball or pick it up on the bounce, which would take his eye off the players bearing down on him. No one really wanted to block Puillandre when he was at full gallop, so it was like he would get a 40-yard free run at some poor kid.

Not having a kicking game cost Waterford's 2005 team the Haldimand-Norfolk title. In what became known, to the guy who wrote the headline, as the Snow Bowl Shocker -- five people had their blowers out for five hours to get the field clear enough to play after more than a foot of wet snow fell overnight -- Waterford lost 21-20 to McKinnon Park from Caledonia. The Wolves missed two extra points, settled for a punt single from the 14-yard line and had a last-minute field goal blocked.

Granted, if Waterford had won that day, there might not be the same interest today in what Scott Puillandre is doing at the CIS level. Also, by getting just a couple sentences about that game instead of a book; you're getting away Scott-free. OUA running backs and receivers might not be so lucky next season.

(Linking to the story also gives some pub to the hardest-working university sports reporter in Ontario, Greg Layson. Cross-posted to The CIS Blog.)

Back in game; Scott Puillandre glad to be back in pads after knee injuries (Greg Layson, Guelph Mercury)

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