The St. Mary Marauders knew they could play good football; they just had to go out and show it.
On Friday at Max Clunie Field they did just that as they were dominant in a 26-11 victory over the Aden Bowman Bears.
“The way we played today I’ll put them up against anybody,” stated an elated Curt Hundeby, head coach of the Marauders. “In the first half I thought we were able to move the ball although we shot ourselves in the foot. In the second half we were able to complete a few passes and our O-Line was fantastic.”
The performance couldn’t have come at a better time as it was the final night of regular-season play with the quarter-final round of the playoffs set to begin on Wednesday in Saskatoon.
The win gives St. Mary a 3-3 record and likely puts them up against Holy Cross in the first round although Holy Cross was playing Tommy Douglas in the late game at Gordie Howe Bowl and a loss would drop them down to fourth spot meaning the Marauders could possibly face Aden Bowman or Centennial Collegiate next week. Friday’s loss dropped the Bears’ record to 4-2.
The Carlton Crusaders were also in action on Friday and despite keeping the game close for three quarters they allowed the St. Joseph Guardians to score 22 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes in a 55-28 loss.
Carlton will still be in the playoff mix next week as the Crusaders, who finished the year with a 1-5 mark, will take on top-ranked Walter Murray in the opening round.
The St. Mary game on Friday took a while to get going as the score was just 2-1 for the Marauders at half time and when they increased that margin to 4-1 with an Aden Bowman safety early in the third quarter the flood gates opened.
Bryant Sackney scored the first of his two rushing majors on a three-yard plunge after Kolton Oftedal had given the Marauders excellent field position on a 53-yard play moments earlier.
Joel Senko’s extra point was no good leaving the score at 10-1 heading into the final quarter.
Aden Bowman got untracked to start the final frame as James Vause connected on a 37-yard field goal and then Erik Fleishhacker hauled in a 27-yard pass to give the Bears an 11-10 lead.
That lead was shortlived as on the very next Marauder play from scrimmage Evan Parchomchuk had a 62-yard catch-and-run play from quarterback Bray Morissette for a touchdown. St. Mary tried a two-point convert, but failed leaving the score 16-11.
Aden Bowman barely had the ball the remainder of the game as Senko connected on a 35-yard field goal to increase the advantage to 19-11 and then after Sheldon Charles jumped on a loose ball on a St. Mary punt, Sackney completed the scoring with a 10-yard burst up the middle. Senko made the convert to extend the lead to 26-11.
The Marauders were strong in all aspects of the game with Sackney rushing for well over a 100 yards and Oftedal doing a remarkable job giving St. Mary excellent field position with his booming punts.
“We did a good job of getting ourselves out of trouble,” said Hundeby.
In Saskatoon, the Crusaders trailed by just five points after three quarters of play before the Guardians put the game out of reach.
Shelton Paul had one touchdown on the ground and another on a kickoff return while quarterback Julian Bird added two more rushing touchdowns for the Crusaders. Ryan Earing converted all four majors.
Friday’s game was the last of the year at Max Clunie Field as all Prince Albert teams will be in Saskatoon for playoffs this week.
In addition to the two high school teams travelling to Saskatoon for quarter-final matches, both River Rider teams will also be in the Hub City for relegation bowl games on Wednesday. The pee wee River Riders, who lost to the Martensville Mad Dogs on Wednesday, were 0-8 on the season while the bantam River Riders fell to the Ledingham Steelers this week to complete their schedule at 1-7. Both River Rider teams will play a pair of games against the seventh and eight-place teams of their respective divisions to complete the year.