by Dick Sterling
Sometimes the things that seem most important to us, can, in an instant, become meaningless. That was the case last Friday night when the highly anticipated varsity football game between the Massena Red Raiders and the Gouverneur Wildcats, a game that would have decided the Northern Athletic Conference regular season title, was canceled when it was disclosed that one of the players on the Gouverneur team had been tragically killed in a car crash on the way to catching the team bus.
When team officials were made aware of the situation the game was cancelled and the bus was brought back home, where a team meeting was held to explain what had happened to teammate Brennan Stevens (#88), a senior.
Brennan, 17, was driving on the Emeryville Road, in the Town of Fowler, at about 4:09 p.m., Friday afternoon, when he lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway and struck a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
Brennan, the son of Gordon “Rufus” and Karen Stevens, was also known for his jumping abilities on the GHS indoor and outdoor track teams. In addition, he liked to hunt and fish enjoyed softball, playing games with his family and enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Brennan is survived by three sisters, Amber Barr, Britney Jackson and Tia Stevens; and a brother, Gordon Stevens.
Brennan was a Section 10 champion in the triple jump. In February he placed first in the triple jump at the Section 10 Winter Track and Field Championships with a jump of 40-feet and 8-inches. He also placed sixth in the long jump. In the spring, during outdoor track, Brennan won the triple jump event at the Van Dusen Invitational, in Ogdensburg, with a jump of 42-feet and on June 3, he was the top triple jumper at the Section 10 championships with a leap of 40-feet 11 ¼ inches.
To honor the fallen Wildcat, his football jersey number (88) was displayed throughout the Gouverneur High School on Monday, where students and staff struggled with the popular student’s sudden death. In addition Canton Central School placed a number 88 in the center of their football field and players from St. Lawrence Central honored Brennan by placing the number 88 on their helmets.
We at the Tribune join with the rest of the community in offering our condolences to the Stevens family, his friends and teammates.
The Wildcat football team will return to the gridiron this Saturday to play the Canton Golden Bears (2-5) in the opening round of the Section 10 Class C playoffs. The Wildcats concluded the regular season with an overall record of 6-0 and are currently ranked sixth in the state in Class C. Massena, a Class A school, completed the season with a league record of 5-0 and an overall record of 5-1.
The Wildcats defeated Canton 28-6 during the regular season as Quarterback Connor Fenlong and Fullback Jack Farrand each ran for over 100 yards and scored a touchdown. Over the course of the season the Wildcats outscored their opponents 231-82. Their running game is quite impressive as Fenlong is third in the league with 437 yards on just 41 carries; Farrand is fifth with 411 yards; Derick Stowell is seventh with 341 yards; and sophomore Peyton Schmitt, a student at Harrisville, has also ran for over 300 yards and scored key touchdowns this season.
Over the final two games of the season Gouverneur outscored their opponents 109-20 and ran for 900 yards and 15 touchdowns. Against Ogdensburg, considered their strongest foe in Class C, the Wildcats ran for 258 yards in the second half and defeated the Blue Devils 35-31, in a game that saw the lead change hands five times in the final quarter.
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Frank LaFalce Field. The Wildcats are the top seed and Canton is the fourth seed. OFA (5-2) has the number two seed and will host St. Lawrence Central (3-4), the three seed in Class C. The two winners will face off for the Class C Section 10 championship next weekend.
Be sure to get out to the game on Saturday and support the Wildcats in their pursuit of a perfect season.
by Dick Sterling