The St. Mary Marauders successfully defended home field to punch their tickets to the North Saskatchewan Football League (NSFL) playoffs with a 31-0 win over the Lloydminster Barons on Friday, Oct. 13.
Marauder head coach Curt Hundeby says he liked the work ethic his team showed in the victory.
“They played gritty. They played a lot tougher. I think our defense played a lot better. We still have things to clean up, but our offense did a lot better. We maintained blocks, we took better angles, and completed a couple passes, which is kind of nice.”
St. Mary posted 525 yards of net offence, including 469 on the ground. The Marauder defense held Lloydminster to only 166 yards of net offence.
The game served as a must win for the Marauders, as they would’ve been eliminated from postseason contention with a loss. Hundeby says St. Mary got contributions from several players in their ground game which was key in the win.
“Our ground game is our bread and butter. That’s what we need to go to. That’s what we need to open up. It was really nice to get a win. It was really nice to get to playoffs, for the guys to earn another week.”
“We spread the ball around pretty good. We had three guys that had over 100 yards rushing. That’s what we want to do. We don’t want to have one guy that has 25 or 30 carries. That’s not how our offense is designed. We want to have three or four guys that all have a dozen carries.”
The Marauders got out to an early 6-0 lead after the first quarter with a pair of field goals off the leg of Kenneth Gonzalez.
In the second quarter, Griffin Johns would find paydirt from 21 yards out for a Marauder touchdown. Gonzalez would also add a rushing score from two yards out later in the frame.
In the second half, a three-yard strike from Lukas Robin to Matt Risom extended the Marauder lead in the third quarter.
Caleb Eckert would provide the final score for St. Mary with a two-yard rush in the fourth quarter.
Hundeby says it was a pleasant surprise to finish the regular season with a blowout win.
“It was awesome, and we were able to get some other guys in and that don’t normally see the field a whole bunch. Got some backups in, some young guys in and it was nice to give them some experience in a senior football game, especially for those young guys to start getting them ready for next year because they’re going to be on the field a whole bunch. We didn’t think we were going to be up by 31. We really didn’t. Every week’s a battle and that was no different.”