Crusaders and Marauders ready for Canadian Tire Classic

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Grant Alexander of the St. Mary Marauders leaps in the air to knock down a pass that was intended for Josh Guenther of the Carlton Crusaders during the 2018 edition of the Canadian Tire Classic.

Even those that are a casual follower of high school sports know how important Thursday’s contest at Max Clunie Field is.

The Carlton Crusaders and the St. Mary Marauders are both looking to improve upon their 1-4 records when they’ll take to the field for the Canadian Tire Classic at 6:30 p.m., while the Marauders are looking to take back the Canadian Tire Cup trophy after losing last year’s matchup by a score of 26-14

In fact, the Marauders are also trying to stop a two-game losing streak to their biggest rival as they dropped a 25-22 affair to the Crusaders in the Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletics Directorate Division III final.

“We want to get that trophy back,” Marauders head coach Curt Hundeby said.

“This is a game that you always mark on the calendar and it’s big for a lot of reasons this year. It has playoff implications and it’s also an important one for the rivalry.”

Although they’ve won the last two meetings with the Marauders, Crusaders head coach Lindsay Strachan is making sure that the team treats this week’s contest like the other ones they’ve had all season.

“Even though this week is a big deal around the school and it’s a great showcase for football in Prince Albert, the stuff that we talk about with the guys doesn’t change,” Strachan said.

“It’s about executing the plays and see where our hard work gets us. The guys have all been there before and it’s about looking after our business.”

The Crusaders are coming off their first win of the season last Thursday night as they cruised to a 47-14 triumph over the visiting E.D. Feehan Trojans.

“We’re all feeling pretty good after that one,” Crusaders Grade 12 wideout Justin Adamko said. “We’ve been gaining more experience as the year has gone on and we’re really becoming more of a team.

“We’re looking to have a good hard week of practice here as we get ready for Thursday. There’s a lot of excitement around the school and we’re getting mentally prepared for what’s ahead.”

Meanwhile, the Crusaders are coming off of a 47-0 loss last Friday in Saskatoon to a 5-0 Holy Cross Crusaders side that has only given up 11 points all season.

“That was a teaching moment for us and we learned quite a lot playing a good team like that,” Marauders Grade 12 quarterback Kyle Witkowski said.

“We’ve progressed a lot since the start of the season and we’re having a lot of fun out there. I’m really looking forward to Thursday night, especially as I get to play my buddies from Carlton. It’s always a good time.”

Both sides have one last regular season game left on their schedules next week, which will determine if they will be in the Division II or Division III playoff bracket.

The opponents, dates and locations for those matchups won’t be known until the conclusion of Friday’s slate of SSSAD contests.