Crusaders roughed up by Guardians in season opener

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Draedon Turner-Netmaker of the Carlton Crusaders is unable to stop St. Joseph Guardians wideout Aarin Sommacal from finding the end zone at Max Clunie Field Thursday night.

It was a night to forget for the Carlton Crusaders on Thursday as they dropped a 55-14 decision to the St. Joseph Guardians at Max Clunie Field in their first game of the 2019 high school football season.

However, there were some positives that Crusaders head coach Lindsay Strachan was able to take away from his team’s opening contest of the Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate campaign.

“We knew that we were going to be playing a good football team tonight and we got a good lesson about what it takes to win at this level,” Strachan said.

“Our guys hung with it though. We battled through some injuries and we had some guys in some positions that they don’t have a lot of reps at, but they scratched and clawed until the very end.”

One of the highlights for the Crusaders was the play of Grade 11 quarterback Ryan Adamko.

He powered his way across the goal line on a 10-yard run in the second quarter, completed an 85-yard touchdown pass to Justin Adamko in the final minute of the game and then scampered into the end zone on the ensuing two-point convert.

“He’s doing a little bit of everything for us right now,” Strachan said. “He’s going to be a big driver for our offence over the next couple of years here.”

The Crusaders raced out to a 41-6 by halftime, with their key offensive contributor being Grade 11 running back Kayden Miller.

Miller opened up the scoring with a short-yardage score after a fumble by the Crusaders on their first drive of the game, scampered down the sidelines on an 82-yard run midway through the opening quarter and returned a 70-yard punt for his third touchdown of the night with 7:57 to go in the first half.

“Kayden’s one of the top running backs in our province and he’s the heart and soul of our offence,” Guardians head coach Tyler Baier said.

“Kayden, Sam (Marshall) and Max (Farbacher) are who we build our offence around and it was great to see all three of our running backs contribute tonight. All of our guys played hard and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”

Marshall had a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Guardians, while Farbacher and Trey Rieder also scored on the ground.

Quarterback Dalton Urban rounded the offensive attack with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Aarin Sommacal.

The Crusaders will look to pick up their first win of the season next Friday night as they’ll go on the road to face the North Battleford Vikings.

“The number one thing that we have to focus on next week is being way more physical out there,” Strachan said.

“That sets the table for everything else that we do and we weren’t in a position to execute tonight due to that lack of physicality.”

The Vikings will enter their home opener with an 1-0 record following a 21-0 shutout of the Tommy Douglas Tigers in Saskatoon Thursday night.

Meanwhile, the St. Mary Marauders will start their season against the Aden Bowman Bears at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Max Clunie Field.