Justin DeFaria was an easy choice as the most valuable player of the Niagara Region High School Athletic Association Tier 2 Football League.
“We all agreed the league-wide MVP was DeFaria from Grimsby,” St. Catharines Collegiate head coach Nathan Greene said. “The ultimate compliment to a football player is having the opposition scheme for your play. No doubt all Tier 2 teams did this for DeFaria and had little success containing him.”
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound kicker/receiver scored 16 touchdowns to lead the league by a wide margin and almost quadrupled the five majors he scored for South Lincoln in the 2016 season. He also made six of seven field goal attempts, including one from 44 yards out. In a 34-22 semifinal victory over Collegiate, DeFaria recorded all 34 points and had a game-clinching interception with 1:17 left in the game with Grimsby leading 27-22. He also had a strong game as Grimsby beat Eden 14-7 in the championship game to finish with an overall record of 7-1.
“Not very often are you lucky enough to get to coach a talent like his and he’s a mismatch for anyone,” Grimsby coach Zack Silverthorne said. “Even when we know they are trying to take him out of the game, he still finds a way to create.”
The Grade 12 student prepared for the high school season by playing wide receiver with the Hamilton Ironmen of the Ontario Varsity Football League.
“Last year, he decided to focus on football and leave soccer behind,” Silverthorne said. “The extra coaching and game time during the summer really improved his skill development.”
Guelph, McMaster and York have all expressed an interest in DeFaria and Guelph recently had him on campus to attend a kicking clinic.
“He’s had a season to remember,” Silverthorne said.
Unfortunately, for other teams in the Tier 2 league, DeFaria is planning on playing one more year of high school football.
DeFaria was also named an all-star at the receiving and kicking position. BP Sports Niagara asked Tier 2 football coaches to select an all-star team and their choices are shown below.
“These all-stars are the leaders of our football programs,” Greene said. “They all have worked hard, demonstrated top level football skill, leadership and perseverance.
“They are the standouts of our teams and we are proud to have them represent our schools as high school football all-stars for 2017.
Quarterback: Jon Emmorey, St. Catharines Collegiate; Andrew Scott, Governor Simcoe.
Running back: Chris Ciede, St. Catharines Collegiate; Evan Langendoen, Eden; Remy Gavanac, Governor Simcoe.
Receiver: DeFaria and Mike Killins, Grimsby; Jonathan Huys, Eden; Danny Lewis and Joe Fusek, Governor Simcoe.
Offensive line: Noah Penner and Trevor Saunders, St. Catharines Collegiate; Spencer Gillies, Grimsby; Zach Anderson, Governor Simcoe; Max Vahrmeyer, Eden.
Defensive back: John Hartwell, St. Catharines Collegiate; Brady Beijas, Grimsby; Madison Salmond and Evan Rowntree, Eden; Johnny Othman, Governor Simcoe.
Linebacker: Lucas Clarkson, Grimsby; Will Bonner and Jason Daniel, Eden.
Defensive line: Connor Craftchick, Grimsby; Sam Pynn and Ben Meier, Eden; Robert Smith, St. Catharines Collegiate.
Kicker: DeFaria, Grimsby.