In a season where it’s taken some time for the team to get rolling on all eight cylinders, the St. Mary Marauders came out firing on Thursday night in Saskatoon.
The Marauders jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter and never looked back as they cruised to a 39-9 win over the Tommy Douglas Tigers in a Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate Division II semifinal game at the Saskatoon Minor Football Field.
“It was a really impressive showing from the guys in a win or go home situation, “ Marauders head coach Curt Hundeby said.
“Other than our win against Mount Royal, we’ve had some struggles in the first quarter this year. That wasn’t the case on Thursday as we got two big stops from our defence and got two straight touchdowns on our opening drives, which gave us a lot of momentum.”
Although the Tigers got within a touchdown before halftime, the Marauders dominated the final two quarters as they outscored their opponents by a 25-2 margin.
“We’ve had a lot of gas in our tank going into the fourth quarter recently, especially in the two games against Carlton prior to the playoffs,” Hundeby said.
“We made a few adjustments after the second quarter and the guys did a good job of battling all game long. Our offensive line had a great game as they gave (quarterback) Kyle (Witkowski) a lot of time to throw and run the ball, plus our receivers did a fantastic job of blocking to help us gain some more yards on offence.”
Witkowski completed 15 of 24 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns, which was highlighted by a 107-yard pass to Ethan Gee.
Gee also had a seven-yard touchdown catch, while Bauer Swystun and Jaykob Stratychuk reached the end zone on 26 and one-yard passes respectively.
“Ethan had a couple of clutch catches that went for big yards and Jaykob made some really key blocks and catches that allowed us to keep moving the chains on offence,” Hundeby said.
“It was a complete effort on defence, especially against a physical team like Tommy Douglas as we did a great job of slowing down their rushing attack.”
The Marauders rounded out their scoring with a 14-yard touchdown run from Nolan Goller and a 13-yard field goal by Witkowski.
Tommy Douglas got their points on a safety and nine-yard touchdown pass from Zach Bauer to Evan Hinke.
Next up for the Marauders is a meeting with the Aden Bowman Bears for the SSSAD Division II title, which will take place next Friday at 5 p.m. in Saskatoon.
The Bears, who picked up a 33-21 victory over the Walter Murray Marauders on Thursday, won the previous meeting against St. Mary on Sept. 6. as the two sides opened the season against each other at Max Clunie Field
“We found out on the bus ride back to Prince Albert that we would be playing Aden Bowman again and our guys are very excited to have another shot at them,” Hundeby said.
“I thought we played pretty well against them in the opener, but we made a couple of mistakes and they made a couple of big plays, which proved to be the difference.”
The Carlton Crusaders are wrapping up their season in Saskatoon Friday evening as they are currently playing the Bedford Road Redhawks in the SSSAD Division III championship contest.