It came down to one point but the West Ferris Trojans from North Bay are the 2017 NOSSA Champions and it was all done without the team's defensive captain.
Last weekend, the team pulled off an impressive victory over the Korah Colts from Sault Ste. Marie to win the Poupore Trophy.
Defensive captain Jay Turnsek was ready for that game until he was injured in the last play of the last practice before the game. He collided with another player and lacerated his liver.
Coach Mark Robertson says he saw the collision happened and says it looked like something out of a sports blooper reel.
"Except it was accompanied by a sickening feeling when you see two of your players down on the ground," he said.
Turnsek says he thought the wind had been knocked out of him.
"Then I went home and there was just this big pain in my abdomen and it just kept going," he said.
'Win it without me'
He went to the hospital and tests were done but nothing was initially found. Turnsek returned home and got a call at 2 a.m. from the hospital asking him to return.
"Deep down, I knew this isn't good."
It wasn't good, but Turnsek was told he was going to be ok. Robertson says he was relieved to hear that, but says his attention soon focused back on the upcoming championship game.
"[Turnsek] not being on our team is significant," he said. "He was a league all-star last year. He's undoubtedly one of the best defensive players in the city."
Turnsek wanted his team to know he was cheering for them from his hospital bed, and sent a text to his coach before the game that said "Win it without me."
"I had a lot of trust and I had a lot of faith in the guys," he said.
And they did win, with a final score of 24-23.
After the victory, he says he was surprised when his team showed up with the trophy at his hospital bed.
"I got a text a few minutes before they showed up and I genuinely thought it was going to be a few of the guys and maybe the cup," he said.
"But I saw some coaches come around the corner recording with their phones and I knew something was up. It was quite the feeling."