A pair of slow starts meant that the Carlton Crusaders football team was forced to charge from behind during their first two games of the Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate season.
They made sure that wasn’t the case Friday in Saskatoon, as they dominated the Mount Royal Mustangs by a score of 37-0 to improve to 1-2 on the campaign.
“We’ve shown that we’re a good football team when we have our backs against the wall, but our main focus with the guys was to make sure that we showed that sense of urgency right from the start,” Crusaders head coach Lindsay Strachan said.
“We’re really happy with how things got started as we scored the first few times we got the ball. We also got a chance to get some more guys out on the field this week, which is something we wanted to do earlier in the year but hadn’t had the chance to with the close games we had been in.”
The Crusaders utilized their rushing attack to their advantage Friday as six players combined for 219 yards on 23 carries.
Elijah McPherson led the way with 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Isaiah Holodniuk and Cameron Berg also crossed the goal line for six points.
“We’re really pleased with their performances,” Strachan said. “They’ve been putting in the time in practices but we haven’t been able to use everyone in as many situations as we would have liked.
“They were able to set a physical tone early, and I think that rubbed off on the rest of the team.”
Kelsey Siwak was successful on a 16-yard field goal in the second quarter while Jacob Beauchesne got the defence on the score sheet when he recovered a Mustangs fumble in the end zone.
Next up for the Crusaders is another trip to Saskatoon Thursday evening as they’ll go up against the 1-2 Tommy Douglas Tigers.
“We’ve had a chance to watch some film and they are an athletic team,” Strachan said.
“This should be a good test for us and it will give us a chance to see where we stand.”
The Tigers, who moved up to the 4A league this season after losing the 3A city final to the eventual provincial champion North Battleford Vikings last November, dropped a 42-7 decision to the St. Joseph Guardians this past Friday.
Meanwhile, the 2-1 St. Mary Marauders return to Max Clunie Field Friday for a 6:30 p.m. contest with the 1-1 Bedford Road Redhawks.