Marauders use ground game to dominate Redhawks

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Logan Campbell rushes into the endzone on a two-point conversion play in the first quarter of the St. Mary Marauders game against the Bedford Road Redhawks on Thursday evening at Max Clunie Field.

A hardcore college football fan may have felt like they were watching the mid-90’s Nebraska Cornhuskers at Max Clunie Field on Thursday night.

In their first game in nearly two years, the St. Mary Marauders rushing attack dominated the Bedford Road Redhawks as the hosts cruised to a 78-0 triumph in their opening contest of the 2021 Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate campaign.

“We’re a run-first offence by design and that’s what we want to do,” Marauders head coach Curt Hundeby said.

“That’s not to say there isn’t any passing in our offence, but with the temperatures and the wind like it was tonight, it wasn’t overly conducive to pass the ball. We stuck with the run and it proved to be effective.”

Thursday’s contest was the first competitive SSSAD football game in Prince Albert since a playoff seeding game in Oct. 17, 2019, which saw the Marauders pick up a 23-11 triumph over the Carlton Crusaders.

“A 600-day wait is a long time,” said Grade 12 student Cole Otterson, who plays at linebacker, tight end and kicker for the Marauders. “I don’t think I could be more excited like I was to get back out there.

“The emotions were running high, especially for our young guys, and we just wanted to make sure that we all kept things under control and did our job through the whole game.”

The Marauders took control of the game early against the Redhawks, as they raced out to a 24-0 advantage in the first quarter.

“We challenged our guys to do their assignments well and to do their job to the best of their ability,” Hundeby said. “There were some hiccups and mistakes that you get in the first game of the season, but for the most part I thought our guys did the little things right.”

“Everybody was flying out there,” Otterson added. “We all did what we were supposed to and it was a good way to start the year.”

Thomas Ratt led the way with three rushing touchdowns, while Ashton Harris, Stanley Livingstone, Kenneth Gonzalez, Brady Robin, Uliks Ibishi and Otterson also scampered into the endzone.

The Marauders will look to continue their winning ways next Friday as they’ll travel to Saskatoon to face the Walter Murray Marauders.

“As this game went on, we cleaned up the large number of penalties that we took early on against Bedford Road, but that’s going to be a big focus for us in practice this week,” Otterson said.

“If you go up against a good team and you take a lot of penalties, that’s going to cost you the game.”

The Carlton Crusaders were in action on Friday afternoon as they started their season in Saskatoon against the Tommy Douglas Tigers.

A recap of that game will be posted on the Daily Herald website this weekend and will also appear in Tuesday’s edition of the paper.

The Crusaders home opener will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday when they’ll host the Bethlehem Stars at Max Clunie Field.