The St. Mary Marauders senior football team ended their regular season with a 42-12 victory over the Tommy Douglas Tigers on Thursday, improving their record to 5-1 on the season.
Head coach Curt Hundeby was happy with how his team rebounded after a long first quarter.
“We had a bit of a slow start, especially offensively,” Hundeby said. “(Tommy Douglas) presented a different style of defense than what we’ve seen anybody else use, and it gave us a few challenges.”
Hundeby saw his team adjust as the game progressed, and coaches saw improvements on both sides of the ball.
“We really started to pick up our blocks,” he explained. “I was happy with how we finished the second quarter. We threw the ball a little bit more, missed a couple of deep passes, but also connected on a nice catch and run. I know offensively we need to be able to throw the ball a little smoother and get the ball downfield more so that teams can’t lock down on our run game as much.”
With the win, they remain tied on top of the 6A division standings with three Saskatoon teams (St. Joe’s, Holy Cross, and Walter Murray). However, based on point differential, the Marauders sit third out of the four teams in the top spot.
Hundeby said he’s happy with how his team’s football knowledge has improved over the season.
“This year was like starting over, with so many guys that have never played a down of football,” he explained. “The bulk of our guys are brand new to football. So it was a lot of learning, and how quickly they’ve picked things up this year was a real positive, and then just the last couple weeks with how our guys have come together as a team. I think they’ve really bonded, especially after our North Battleford game and after this one. It was a really good vibe in the locker room.”
However, with the way scheduling worked out, the Marauders will be the top seed of tier 2, barely missing out on the top tier bracket. Also in their bracket will be the Carlton Crusaders, who are guaranteed to play in the 2 vs 3 game. So while there won’t be a Marauders Crusaders clash in the first round, the possibility of a Canadian Tire Classic game could become a reality in the second round of the playoffs, if both teams win their first games.
Hundeby discussed that possibility, and said he just wants to focus on the next game in front of him.
“Obviously both us and Carlton would have to win our first games to have that possibility, but right now we’re taking this one game at a time,” Hundeby said. “As soon as Carlton’s game is done tonight, we should know who we’re playing and we’re going to start prepping right away to get ready for that. It’s a short turnaround, it’s a Wednesday game.”
For the Crusaders, they play their last game on Friday night at Max Clunie Field. They take on Evan Hardy, with more playoff implications on the line. This game will determine where the Crusaders will finish in their bracket, as well as who will fill in the other two spots with both St. Mary and Carlton.