Crusaders stay undefeated with win over Stars

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Carlton Crusaders RB Tazmin Smith-Windsor races down the sideline on his way to scoring a touchdown during the first quarter of play against the Bethlehem Stars in September 2021 at Max Clunie Field.

A quick start proved to be beneficial once again for the Carlton Crusaders football team.

The Crusaders improved to 2-0 in Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate play on Friday night at Max Clunie Field as they picked up a 34-24 triumph over the visiting Bethlehem Stars.

“It was very similar to how things played out in Saskatoon last weekend against Tommy Douglas,” Crusaders head coach Lindsay Strachan said.  “We were great on both sides of the ball and we jumped out to a 21-0 lead after our first three offensive possessions.

“Bethlehem regrouped a little bit after that and started to get things going on offence. It was a pretty back and forth game following the first quarter until we scored early in the fourth, which allowed us to make it a two-score game again and put the momentum back in our favour.”

As was the case in their 37-0 performance to start off the season against the Tommy Douglas Tigers, the Crusaders received a total team effort on their way to a second straight win.

“The biggest difference this time around was the fact that we faced some adversity when Bethlehem closed back in on us,” Strachan said.

“We had to battle through and make adjustments, so this game turned out to be a great test for us, especially since we have a younger group of kids. We got to see how they responded to certain situations.”

Although the season is still in its early stages, Strachan is pleased with how this year’s Crusaders side has been able to learn the nuances of high school football.

“They are like sponges as they are picking up things quickly, especially when it comes to the mentality that you need to play with,” Strachan said. “They aren’t afraid to stand across the field from somebody, who in some cases, are a couple of years older than they are.

“We got some of our young players in significant roles right now and they are doing a nice job.”

The Crusaders are back in action this Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. when they’ll welcome the 1-1 Walter Murray Marauders to Max Clunie Field.

“We’ve been looking a lot at their defence on film as they’ve only given up 17 points in two games, and they are a very solid group on that side of the ball,” Strachan said. “From an offensive standpoint, they use lots of movement and motion so we have to be prepared for that.

“They are a good team and we’re going to have our hands full, but I’m hopeful that we can have another fast start and give them a go on Thursday.”