Marauders at Centennial’s mercy

Gary Pearson
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Marauders' multi-faceted man, Bryant Sackney, trudges forward with two Chargers attempting to tear him to the ground. St. Mary lost the game on Friday, 36-14. Herald photo by Gary Pearson

--PRINCE ALBERT-- Injuries, turnovers at vital moments and a lack of discipline led to the Marauders home defeat at the hands of last season’s provincial runners-up, the Centennial Chargers.

“This week we were really limited by having a quarterback with an injured throwing shoulder, so our plan is to make sure he’s healthy for next week so we can open our playbook up,” said St. Mary head coach Curt Hundeby after his team’s 36-14 loss.

Centennial started the scoring with 4:57 remaining in the first quarter, when running back Steven Chudyk carried for a 22-yard touchdown.

The Marauders, however, responded in quick succession with a 75-yard quarterback draw from the brilliant Bryant Sackney, who carried the Marauders’ offensive for the majority of the afternoon.

The Grade 10 student-athlete – with quarterback Mitch Kokotailo still labouring from a previously injured shoulder - displayed his durability by manning both the quarterback and running back positions for a chunk of the game.

“It definitely gives me a new perspective on the game,” said the diminutive, yet sturdy running back. “Just being able to see how it is at quarterback, to see all that pressure and have it on you. I really go to give it to the quarterbacks, it’s so much pressure.”

Sackney, the team’s offensive workhorse, leads the league in carries and handled the unrelenting pressure like a seasoned pro.

“I think Bryant Sackney ran the ball incredibly well. Whatever grease he sweats, I wish we could share that amongst the guys because he is just so tough to tackle and such a willing guy just to run the ball,” said Hundeby.

Kokotailo - St. Mary’ customary starting quarterback - sparingly played with a susceptible shoulder, but was obviously not at his peak.

Opposing quarterback Jared Andreychuk, however, was slinging the pigskin with precision, and completing passes at will. The 17-year-old quarterback leads the league in passing yards and it was evident why.

He tossed numerous deadly accurated passes, one of which to wide receiver Jeremy Jorgenson in the second quarter for a 40-yard gain. Andreychuk – who threw for two and ran for one touchdown on the day - capped off the scoring drive with another high-arcing bomb, this time to Chad Soehn for a 35-yard touchdown reception. Soehn trotted in unmolested with 8:59 left in the half for a 14-7 Chargers lead.

The Chargers are equipped with one of the most balanced attacks in the league, which Andreychuk said is integral to the team’s success.

“We definitely mix it up a lot,” said the 17-year-old pivot. “Even from game to game, we might pass a lot one game or run a lot the next.

“We played good when we needed to play good.”

The Chargers conjured up a blocked punt and an interception at pivotal points in the first half, which cost the Marauders dearly. As well, St. Mary’ Cody Sjogren suffered an injury early in the game, which visibly affected the home side’s defence.

“I thought for the most part we actually contained their run decent,” said Hundeby. “Losing No. 45 (Sjogren) hurt us and when he came back it was too little, too late.”

St. Mary was unable to recover and the game got beyond them with 5:58 remaining in the third quarter, when the Chargers converted a third down gamble to keep the drive alive. Chudyk imposed his will and rumbled in for his second touchdown of the game thereafter, widening the gap to 29-7.

“To be able to beat teams like that you have to be able to put up 20-30 points, and so we are going to take a look at our offence and see how we can do that,” said Hundeby.

St. Mary now focuses its attention on Thursday’s away encounter with St. Joseph. The Marauders have three consecutive games on the road and hope to improve upon their 1-2 start, returning to Prince Albert for a home game on Oct. 20.

Organizations: Chargers, PRINCE ALBERT

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