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Home Sports Tough first half leads to first Crusader loss of the season

Tough first half leads to first Crusader loss of the season

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Tough first half leads to first Crusader loss of the season
The Carlton Crusaders defence swarms a Walter Murray ball carrier during first quarter action at Max Clunie Field on Thursday, Sept. 30.

The Carlton Crusaders mounted a strong second half comeback, but it wasn’t enough to defeat the Walter Murray Marauders at Max Clunie Field on Thursday.

The Crusaders scored three of their four touchdowns in the second half, but weren’t able to overcome a difficult first half that saw the Marauders put up 31 points before the Crusaders scored their first touchdown.

“We just didn’t get that start we wanted,” Crusaders head coach Lindsay Strachan said. “We made a couple of mistakes right off the bat that just really shifted the momentum in Walter Murray’s favour, and it just kind of snowballed on us in the first quarter.

“We were able to come out and play a much better second half, but by that time it was a little bit of ‘it’s too little, too later.’”

The Crusaders entered the game with a 2-0 record, but struggled to find any offensive rhythm. Walter Murray took the lead early by recovering a fumble in the Crusader end zone, then padded their point total with a long punt-return touchdown.

Carlton was down 31-0 by the time quarterback Sullivan Smith-Windsor found a receiver in the end zone for the team’s first score.

“We didn’t feel we were physically good enough in the first half,” Strachan said. “We had some opportunities, we felt, from an X’s and O’s standpoint to make some things happen, and they just were better than us in a couple of situations.”

The Crusaders rallied at half-time, and scored three second half touchdowns, but Walter Murray held on for the win. Both clubs now sit at 2-1 heading into the fourth week of the season.

Although he didn’t get the start he wanted, Strachan said the club responded well in the second half.

“In times like that, where things aren’t going your way, it’s back to fundamentals,” he said. “We knew we needed to be better in one-on-one situations and I thought we came out and competed much better in the second half.”

The Crusaders face local rivals Ecole St. Mary High School in their next matchup. Both teams head into Friday’s Canadian Tire Classic with identical records.

Strachan said his team is eager to get back on the field and erase memories of Thursday’s loss.

“Any time we get to play in that game it’s always exciting,” he said of the Canadian Tire Classic. “It’s a celebration of football in Prince Albert, and we’re always excited to get prepped up for that one. I’m sure we’ll have a little bit of extra energy this week at practice.”