Marauders reflect on high school football season

St. Mary Marauders quarterback Liam Martin rolls out to make a pass during high school football action

It wasn’t the championship ending the St. Mary Marauders football team wanted as they dropped their SSSAD semi final to the St. Joseph’s Guardians last Friday, but the Marauders were happy to get the chance after clawing their way into the playoffs.
St. Mary head coach Curt Hundeby says the Marauders didn’t have many answers for a talented St. Joseph’s team that has dominated their opponents this season.
“They’re a really good football team. They presented us with problems we did not have answers to. It highlighted some of the shortcomings of our team physically. There’s not a whole lot in the moment you can do about something like that. We tried to maintain possession because we knew their offense was dynamite. They are very good, and they make you pay for every little mistake that you do. They highlight mistakes more than anyone we played this year.”
The Marauders opened their season with a three-game losing streak, including a loss in the Canadian Tire Classic to the crosstown rival Carlton Crusaders 51-14 to open the season. A week later, the Marauders would get shut out on home field by the Holy Cross Crusaders 45-0 and would follow that up with a loss in Saskatoon to the Centennial Chargers 24-0.
Hundeby says the Marauders hit rock bottom after their third game of the season.
“Our first two games were against two very good football teams. We played Carlton in our first game against the best team they’ve had in my 16 years here. Holy Cross is always good. I’ve never seen Holy Cross not be in the top two or three every year. Going into the Centennial game, we had a lot of hope as we thought that’s a team we matched up better against. We played very poorly; we didn’t play very well. We out yardaged them, but we just didn’t score. After that game, on the bus ride home I was really wondering if we were going to be able to claw out any wins this season or is this going to be one of those years where we do a lot of learning.”
But the month of October saw the Marauders rattle off three wins in a row starting with a 52-36 victory over the Bethlehem Stars. With a playoff spot on the line in the final week of the regular season, the Marauders took home a slim 22-21 victory over the Tommy Douglas Tigers to give them another shot at Centennial.
Hundeby says the Marauders were in playoff mode with two games left to go in the regular season.
“We knew the Bethlehem game was going to be a make-or-break game. If we couldn’t beat Bethlehem, it would have put us in the 7/8 game. We thought we had potential to be better then that. Once we got the win against Bethlehem, it allowed the players to believe in the guys beside them and to believe in the system and to trust what we are doing is the right thing. Essentially, once we hit the Bethlehem game, our playoffs started then. It was win or you are done.”
The Marauders would be able to avenge some demons from earlier in the season defeating Centennial in their rematch 22-13 to win their first provincial 6A playoff game since 2012 before bowing out to the St. Joseph Guardians.
Hundeby says he the team learned how to play together throughout the season.
“At the beginning of the year, we had a small number of players, we did not have a lot of Grade 12s that were significant contributors. A lot of them were in secondary roles. The bulk of our team is our Grade 11 group. We don’t have a lot of size, and we aren’t particularly athletic. This group of guys, we started slow. Halfway through the season, we started to figure out the things you can’t measure like how you play with grit, you can’t measure that but out guys figured out how to do that.”