Crusaders reflect on high school football season

Carlton Crusaders senior Tazmin Smith-Windsor lifts the trophy following the Carlton win in the Canadian Tire Classic earlier this season. Photo by Nathan Reiter

The season for Carlton Crusaders football team came to an end last Friday with a 38-23 loss to the Holy Cross Crusaders in a 6A football semi-final.
Crusader head coach Lindsay Strachan says that Carlton gave themselves a chance to win against a talented Holy Cross opponent.
“We competed so hard; we were right there. I think a couple plays go a different way and it’s a different result. We gave ourselves a chance, we got the ball back with a little over two minutes left in the fourth within a score. We competed so hard and played well. I’m just really proud of the guys for the effort and what they did.”
The Crusaders saw a lot of success this season, going 4-1 in the regular season. Their only loss in the regular season came against the top seeded St. Joseph Guardians.
Carlton opened the 2022 football season with a win in the Canadian Tire Classic over crosstown rival St. Mary 51-14. The Crusaders extended their season opening win streak to two with a shutout win over Walter Murray before suffering a setback against St. Joseph. Carlton would rack up back-to-back wins to wrap up the regular season over Tommy Douglas and Bethlehem.
Strachan says the Crusader success came because of a strong team work ethic.
“It was really successful. I got to show up and work with a great group of kids that were committed to getting better and improving. At the end of the day, our overall goal is to be a little bit better everyday then we were the day before. We feel if we stick to that then good things will happen. The results this year of committing to the process speak for themselves.”
Carlton would advance to the 6A semi final with a win over the Walter Murray Marauders to open the playoffs before a hard-fought game to finish the season against Holy Cross. Strachan
“Coming in, I definitely saw our potential to be in a game like that. What the result of that game was, I didn’t really know. To be right there with a team, that we’ve never competed with in my time here at Carlton. To have that opportunity to be right there with them is great. When you’re there, you want to win it. Big picture, it is a great accomplishment.”
Carlton was led by a strong group of Grade 12 players this season, including Scott Adamko and University of Saskatchewan commit Tazmin Smith-Windsor.
Strachan says it’s always bittersweet moment to see players graduate from the program, but he knows they are set up for success in life.
“It’s always a tough time when you have to say goodbye to these guys. They’ve spent a lot of time in the program, and they really embody what we are, who we are in terms of our work ethic, accountability and the enthusiasm we need to bring every day. It’s bittersweet because I know those young men are going to go out and do great things in the world. They’re going to be great partners and great members of the work force and post-secondary students. I want to thank them for their time, energy and commitment to our program. Once a Crusader, always a Crusader.”