© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Lukas McConechy is one of many senior football players ready for a final Carlton Crusader-St. Mary Marauder clash on Friday at Max Clunie Field. McConechy was a close friend of Clunie's and says this game is far more imporant than a school rivalry.
It has been more than two years since Max Clunie tragically lost his life in an airplane crash in northern Saskatchewan, but his memory lives on.
Clunie would undoubtedly be playing in Friday’s Canadian Tire Classic between the Carlton Crusaders and St. Mary Marauders and even though that won’t be happening in body, it will certainly be in the heart and souls of all the players.
“This game means everything to me,” says Carlton defensive stalwart Lukas McConechy, a close friend of Clunie’s. “We’re playing for Max’s dream and remembering his legacy.”
“To be able to play for Max Clunie is real special,” adds St. Mary running back Bryant Sackney. “I’ve been thinking about this game since last year’s game.”
One year ago a major project was completed when lights were installed at Prime Ministers’ Park and the football field was renamed Max Clunie Field. All of this was to fulfill a dream of Clunie’s to someday play a game under the lights, like they did when they travelled to Saskatoon.
“This game has nothing to do about school rivalry,” noted McConechy.
With the game having a special tone to it, there is still plenty at stake as the Crusaders and Marauders are fighting for their playoff lives in the Saskatoon High School Football League.
Carlton has dropped all three of its games this season, but the most recent outing –a 14-5 setback to Centennial Collegiate – was easily their most impressive performance to date.
St. Mary, meanwhile, is coming off a 34-19 triumph over the Bethlehem Stars and they are 1-1 in league play. The club has also played an exhibition game in Moose Jaw.
Whoever wins on Friday will put themselves in a better position to make the playoffs in mid-October and they will also be presented with the Canadian Tire Cup along with a $1,000 to donate to their designated charity, courtesy of local Canadian Tire owner Malcolm Jenkins.
“We just want to go out and have a real good game,” says Sackney. “We played real well last game. I think we have real good odds this year.”
St. Mary won the inaugural match last year when the emotions surrounding the game were through the roof. There will still be a lot of emotion this year as many of the players on both teams were friends with Clunie.
It will be a very special night indeed and it all starts at 7 p.m.