The Carlton Crusaders football team had an efficient evening on their way to a 51-14 win over the Ecole St. Mary Marauders in the 11th annual Canadian Tire Classic at Max Clunie Field.
The Crusaders led for most of Friday evening thanks to a four touchdown and 140 yard rushing performance from running back Rylan Morrison. Crusaders’ Coach Lindsay Strachan said it was an important win for the team.
“We overcame a little adversity early there with that long touchdown that we gave up,” Strachan said. “I just thought we did a really good job to regain our composure. (The) offence came back and scored right away.”
Friday’s game was Morrison’s first Canadian Tire Classic. He was excited to get the victory.
“(It’s) a big win,” Morrison said. “First time playing for Carlton, it feels good. I’ve never played in the Canadian Tire Cup before, but I made a name for myself here today and I’m hoping to play like that every game, maybe even better.”
The Crusader led 20-7 after the first quarter, 37-14 at the half and 44-14 after the third quarter. The game was mostly clean for a rivalry game but saw some aggressive jawing after plays in the fourth quarter.
“That’s usually how it gets when you play St Mary’s, but just tell our boys to be quiet (and) don’t take any stupid penalties,” Morrison said.
Morrison said the win was important as the Crusaders try to build momentum throughout the season.
“(It) gets the boys fired up for the rest of the year,” he said.
“(The) defence played well, offence played well, big blocks on the line means big holes. Good passes (and) Sully (quarterback Sullivan Smith-Windsor) was slinging the ball around.”
Smith-Windsor did double duty as a quarterback and punter, but wasn’t called on for the latter job until there was 4:10 left in the game.
Despite Carlton’s success on offence, it was the Marauders who opened the scoring. St. Mary wide receiver Griffin Johns ran 65-yards on a reverse for the game’s first touchdown 1:24 into the opening quarter, giving St. Mary a 7-0 lead.
Morrison scored his first touchdown on a six-yard run 5:06 into the first quarter. Around two minutes later Jackson Hufnagel scored on a 51-yard interception return. The Crusaders led 13-7 after the extra point missed.
Carlton added to their lead with Morrison’s second touchdown on a seven-yard run at the end of the first quarter. They then extended their lead with a two-yard touchdown run from Scott Adamko just over six minutes into the second quarter. Kicker Gage Proehdahl added a field goal almost 10 minutes into the second quarter.
“We had a really efficient first half and a lull in the middle,” Strachan said.
“We made some adjustments. And it took us a little bit of time to get figured out,” he added,
The Marauders got back into the game with a 75-yard touchdown run from Cameron Neudorf just past the 10 minute mark. Just over a minute later Morrison added his third touchdown with a 13-yard run.
The only scoring of the third quarter was a seven yard touchdown catch by Jordan Stene to increase the Crusaders’ lead. Morrison capped off the night for Carlton with a 42-yard touchdown run 16 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Last year the Crusaders won by an identical score of 51-14.
The Crusaders host the Saskatoon Bishop James Mahoney Saints in an exhibition game on Thursday, Sept. 28 at Max Clunie Field with kickoff at 6:30 p.m.
The Marauders travel to North Battleford for their next game on Sept. 28th. Their next home game is Oct. 13 against Lloydminster.