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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Ravens’ Junior and Varsity teams are Ontario Champions


by Garrett Fodor with Photos courtesy of Football Ontario

After waiting more than two-years, the Essex Ravens football teams are the reigning All-Ontario Champions of Football Ontario, across two divisions. 

  On Saturday, after months of preparation, games, and training, the Essex Ravens Football Club traveled to Toronto where the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams had earned a spot in the finals. Both teams faced Nepean, looking to return home All Ontario Champions. For Essex Ravens’ President and Director of Football Operations, Glen Mills, returning to the field for everyone was great and rewarding in itself, no matter the result.

  “There’s a lot of happy kids and coaches. It’s great to be able to get back on the field and just compete again. It’s been over two-years since there’s [been] an actual football game played,” Coach Mills described. “I think that it was very exciting for the kids to watch and play. And the fact that we’re able to play at the level we played, after being off for two-years, speaks volumes to the coaches and to the kids, and the work that we put in during that time and since we started going.”

  When it came to game time on Saturday, the schedule began with the Junior Varsity Ravens taking on the Nepean Eagles. The Varsity Ravens played in the evening, as they played the Nepean Broncos. According to Mills, both games for the Ravens went as planned; playing strong on the defensive side and limiting their opponent, and the offensive game would fall into place.

  And that it did.

  The Junior Varsity Ravens shutout the Eagles, 49-0, while the Varsity Ravens beat the Broncos 34-8. Mills credits the support of the players and their families for helping one another and making their presence felt, as both teams would secure the All Ontario Championships at the Football Ontario “Fall Cup.”

  “Our fans have always traveled really well,” Mills said. “But for us, we saw a lot of our older guys show up earlier to watch the JV game, and our JV guys stayed after their game to watch the Varsity team. We like to think of our organization as a family and it really showed today.”

  Mills noted this is the first time the Junior Varsity team has earned All Ontario Champion honours, while the Varsity team has earned seven championships. Mills said he is extremely proud of the team and happy to continue to bring championships back to Essex, and put the centre on the map compared to other cities.

  “We’re not only working on the field, but we are developing contributing members of society off the field,” Mills commented. “The game is a reward for taking care of business off the field, at home, at school, everywhere. While we pride ourselves on being the premier program, our players go on and succeed at the next level, but also at life.”

  Mills added he makes an effort to reach out to current and former players around this time of year, as the football club sponsors several families around the holidays, instilling that giving back to the community when they have given so much is critical to success. 

  He said he is thankful to all of the players, support staff, volunteers, fans, and sponsors who made the season possible. Mills is happy everyone had a chance to return to the field and is looking forward to the spring and beginning to work towards a full season.

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