--PRINCE ALBERT-- The bantam River Riders football team won their first home opener in the club‚Äôs five-year history on Sunday, beating the Saskatoon Titans 16-6.
‚ÄúFriday and Saturday we had two great practices,‚ÄĚ said River Riders head coach Ryan Hughes. The team struggled in their season opener against perennial powers the Saskatoon Arns Falcons losing in a lopsided affair, 39-0.
But the team grew in confidence and obtained a momentous victory at home Sunday, and Hughes believes the team, with two forthcoming home games, our bound to take significant strides.
The River Riders younger peewee squad has lost both of its openers ‚Äď a home and an away defeat ‚Äď but head coach Wendell Whitter isn‚Äôt overtly concerned.
‚ÄúWe lost the first one in the final minute,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúOur defence ‚Äď the light switched on at half ‚Äď played amazing in the second half.‚ÄĚ
And although the Bulldogs from Saskatoon won 43-38 in the opener on home soil, the River Riders team played an inspired second half. The team was down by a couple of touchdowns heading to the interval, but scratched and clawed their way back to make it a grandstand finish.
The team travelled home and lost on Sunday to the Titans 30-19.
‚ÄúWe played well,‚ÄĚ said Whitter. ‚ÄúA couple of little breaks went their way.‚ÄĚ
The blustery home encounter nullified the presence of any punting or kicking game. And, Whitter said, most of the game was played in the trenches and on the ground.
The weekend was chockfull of mixed emotions.
But both teams look forward to ironing out any lingering kinks before they take to the field versus the Panthers on Sunday, Sept. 18.
The peewees take to Prime Ministers‚Äô field at 1 p.m., followed by the bantams, who are scheduled to give the pigskin a ride at 4 p.m