Sep. 17—The Gilmour football team had a homecoming game to remember on Sept. 16.
A 9 p.m. kickoff and postgame dinners that last until 2 a.m. or so tend to make such games memorable.
"This was a first," said Coach Tommy Zagorski, whose Lancers moved to 5-0 with the 14-0 win over West Toronto Academy out of Canada. "That's for sure. This was a first."
The game itself was almost a subtitle in what was otherwise a bizare night. It started when the West Toronto coach called Zagorksi and told him the bus had a flat tire in Cannow, N.Y. That send Zagorski scrambling to find out where Cannow, N.Y. was on a map.
"I was looking everywhere trying to find out where Cannow was," Zagorski said. "I finally had him spell it. C-O-N-N-E-A-U-T. I'm like, 'Oh, you're in Conneaut."
Which is in Northeast Ohio, not in New York as the West Toronto coach thought.
Gilmour then dispatched a bus from campus to Conneaut, a 65-mile trip one-way. Including driving time and transferring equipment from one bus to another — well — the 7 p.m. start wasn't going to happen.
"Yeah, it was a challenge," Zagorski said with a laugh. "It's homecoming so there were already a lot of fans here at our fan fest. I told the players they could hang out in the locker room, in the ice arena, or they could go see their families. I just tried to keep it as loose as I could."
Eventually, the West Toronto team arrived. The game started shortly after 9 p.m. The Lancers took the 14-0 win on touchdowns from senior Jesse Shepherd and freshmen C.J. Santagata. The defense, Zagorski said, controlled the game against a big and physical West Toronto team chock full of college football prospects.
But the challenges didn't end when the game ended. You see, West Toronto's replacement bus hadn't arrived yet. And it didn't until around 2 a.m.
Fortunately, Gilmour had planned on feeding the West Toronto contingent prior to the game, so all of that food — pasta, meatballs and more — was ready for post-game festivities. Zagorski, athletic director Sean O'Toole and others from Gilmour remained with their Canadian guests at the school's athletic center.
"Some guys slept, others were on computers, we had cable TV set up for them," Zagorski said. "It worked out pretty well. It was a testament to our school, the kids, their families and our administration."