Crusaders win fifth straight heading into playoffs

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Josh Guenther crosses the goal line on a first quarter touchdown for the Carlton Crusaders in their 35-0 win over the E.D. Feehan Trojans Friday.

The Carlton Crusaders football team is heading into the Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate playoffs on a hot streak.

Thanks to a convincing 35-0 triumph over the 0-7 E.D. Feehan Trojans Friday in their regular season finale at Max Clunie Field, the Crusaders picked up their fifth win in a row and enter post-season play with a 5-2 record.

“We’ve been a bit of a roll here as of late,” Crusaders head coach Lindsay Strachan said. “We’ve been improving all year long and we’re playing our best football here lately, but now it’s the time of the season where you have to prove it.

“I think our execution has really told the story for us as we’ve been getting better at that as the season has gone on.”

In fact, the Crusaders had a very legitimate chance of going 7-0 in the regular season, as they dropped two close battles with the Bethlehem Stars and the North Battleford Vikings to start the campaign.

“After those tough losses, we came back and worked extra hard so that we come away with some wins,” Crusaders quarterback Cody Huntley said.

“Our team has a ton of heart and we’re all willing to step up and help each other out if one side of the football is struggling.”

Huntley turned in an impressive showing Friday as he threw for five touchdown passes.

“Everyone played a part in that,” Huntley said. “The coaches are calling great plays and the offence is able to execute those calls.”

Kael Leachman got things started with a 42-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, while Josh Guenther and Ethan Cartier followed that up with 18 and 82 yard receptions.

Leachman would haul in a two yard pass in the second quarter and Keone Tyler scored from 55 yards out in the third frame to round out the scoring.

Although the matchups in the Division II semifnal round have yet to be confirmed by the SSSAD, the Crusaders are preparing to take on the Stars in Saskatoon Thursday night.

That will be a rematch of the season opening contest for both teams, as the Stars held off a late Crusaders rally for a 22-20 victory at Max Clunie Field on Sept. 7.

“I think the tendencies that both teams showed in that game will hold true, even though we’ve both changed a bit as the year has gone on,” Strachan said. “Even though it was awhile ago, there’s things we can take away from the film that we have on them.”

The St. Mary Marauders and Tommy Douglas Tigers are expected to play in the other semifinal.

If both Prince Albert teams were to win their matchups, the Division II final would take place at Max Clunie Field in two weeks.