Mistakes costly for Marauders in home opener

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Thomas Rusk (#99) and Ramon Koenig of the St. Mary Marauders chase after Bronson Boechler of the Aden Bowman Bears at Max Clunie Field Friday night.

After falling behind 14-0 in the opening quarter, the St. Mary Marauders used their passing attack to tie things up against the Aden Bowman Bears at Max Clunie Field Friday night.

However, some big plays by the Bears’ offence and a couple of turnovers by the Marauders proved too much to overcome as the hosts dropped a 42-24 affair in their season opening contest.

“The guys will learn from their mistakes and keep battling to get better,” Marauders head coach Curt Hundeby said. “With that said, I’m really happy with how the guys kept fighting, especially after we gave up those two touchdowns early.

“Their defensive line was the exact same at the end of the game as it was on our very first offensive play, and that’s a real testament of how our guys continued to battle.”

Marauders quarterback Kyle Witkowski played a key role to his team’s success Friday, as he completed touchdown passes to Carter McDougall (one yard) and Seth LeMoal (20 yards) in the second quarter and also kicked a 15-yard field goal in the third quarter.

However, he was also picked off on two occasions, one of which was returned the other way for a 52-yard touchdown by Joel Hall.

“Our offence can move the ball well down the field, but we need to make sure that all 12 guys are doing the right thing out there,” Hundeby said. “If we have just 11 guys doing the right thing, something’s bound to fall apart.

“When everyone was working together, we were successful tonight. However, when things weren’t clicking, it didn’t go our way.”

McDougall rounded out the scoring in the fourth quarter with a five-yard touchdown run.

Bears quarterback Greg Boechler had a strong evening as he completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Bronson Boechler, connected with Jarius Friesen from 41 yards out and threw a 68-yard strike to Odin Bakke on the final play of the third quarter.

“We started out hot but then we lost our minds a little bit and allowed St. Mary to get back in it,” Bears head coach Chad Palmer said.

“It was a tale of two teams out there on our end. I’m happy with how we were able to make some big plays on offence, but we made a few too many turnovers and that’s something we will need to work on.”

The Marauders will look to pick up their first win of the year next Thursday evening in Saskatoon as they’ll take on the Bethlehem Stars in a 5:15 pm. contest at the Saskatoon Minor Football Field.

“It’s going to be important for us to be physical on offence going forward, especially against Bethlehem as they are a team we’ve had great battles with over the years,” Hundeby said. “We’re looking for our guys to have a good week of practice ahead of that game next Thursday.”

The Stars will enter that contest with an 0-1 mark after they lost a 33-5 affair to the defending 6A Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate champion Centennial Chargers in their season opener on Friday.