After playing to a 27-27 tie with the Carlton Crusaders in last week’s Canadian Tire Classic, the St. Mary Marauders made sure that wasn’t the case Thursday at Max Clunie Field.
The Marauders had solid showings on both sides of the field as they picked up a 23-11 win in a Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate seeding game and also regained possession of the Canadian Tire Cup in the process.
“It feels great to get the win,” Marauders Grade 12 quarterback Kyle Witkowski said. “It was huge for us to have another shot at Carlton this week and we wanted to go back and right some wrongs.
“After the tie, we wanted to come out firing today. We had a good idea of what Carlton was going to bring, but we knew that they would have a few tricks in place.”
It was the Marauders defence that led the way on Thursday as they kept the Crusaders offence off-balance for most of the night.
“Our defence made it tough for our offence all week in practice,” Marauders head coach Curt Hundeby said. “They held us in this game while our offence figured things out. Our coverage was good and they tackled really well all night.
“I’m really happy for our Grade 12 guys. They were really broken up after not winning last week and as much as we want to downplay it and say this is just another game, it’s always a big deal when we play Carlton.”
Once the teams shook hands and the Marauders made their way to the sideline, Witkowski made sure that linebacker Jack Boyd was the first player to grab the Canadian Tire Cup as they posed for a team photo.
“It’s been a difficult week at the school and we spent some time in prayer Tuesday for everyone that was involved in that crash over the weekend,” Hundeby said.
“We had a young man who lost his life and another young man who has to live with that feeling of losing a friend. I can’t imagine what his emotional state is but we want to support him, be there for him and give our best effort for him.”
The Marauders got their points off of a 36-yard touchdown run from Seth LeMoal, a five-yard scamper from Carter McDougall and a one-yard quarterback sneak from Witkowski.
In addition to forcing the Marauders into conceding four points on safeties, the Crusaders rounded out their scoring with a 71-yard touchdown run by quarterback Ryan Adamko in the fourth quarter.
“We left a few things out there tonight,” Crusaders head coach Lindsay Strachan said. “We got some things going at times on offence but we didn’t execute as well as we would have liked to.
“St. Mary played well though and any time that we can have a bunch of fans out here to watch high school football, it’s always exciting.”
The 1-5-1 Crusaders will have a chance to end their year on a winning note next week in Saskatoon as they’ll take on the Bedford Road Redhawk in a Tier III playoff game to wrap up their season.
“I know the guys are disappointed right now, but we have a chance to finish out the year strong and we’re going to get geared up for that,” Strachan said.
The date for that game has yet to be finalized.
Meanwhile, the 2-4-1 Marauders will travel to Saskatoon next Thursday night to take on the Walter Murray Marauders in a Tier II semifinal game.
“I told the coach that takes care of video that I need film of the last three Walter Murray games by the end of tonight,” Hundeby joked.
“We set a goal this year of being Tier II champions and we are going to give Walter Murray our best next week.”