They say that in football the hardest things to do is beat a team three times in one season and the Nipissing Wild proved that to be true with a 27-12 win over the Sudbury Gladiators in their first ever playoff game.
After dropping two decisions to their northern rivals by a combined score of 66-14 during the regular season, the Wild defense stepped up and held the highest scoring team in the province to no touchdowns on the afternoon.
Zach Wilkinson opened the scoring for the Wild with a 55 yard fumble return for touchdown early in the first quarter. Later in the quarter the Gladiators responded with a short field goal from Alex Carriere to make the score 7-3 for the visitors.
However, on the ensuing kickoff Wilkinson returned the ball 90 yards for a touchdown to put the underdogs up 14-3.
Carriere punched two more field goals through in the second quarter to narrow the gap to 14-9 at the break.
In the second half it was more of the same from the Wild defense as they gave their opponents fits all afternoon.
The Wild kicker Mitch Frederick and Carriere alternated field goals in the third frame with Frederick booting kicks of 14 and 28 yards while Carriere added a 35 yarder making the score 20-12 for Nipissing going in the last quarter.
In that final quarter Wild running back Brett Kraft ran for 60 yards including the back breaking touchdown with less than a minute to go sealing the victory.
The Wild will now travel to meet the winner of the other Northern Division semi-final between Huronia (Barrie) and Clarington (Oshawa). That game will decide the Northern Champion and send one team to the provincial championship.