Football Muskies aim for strong finish to season

Jamie Mountain

The black-and-gold have been beating their opponents “black-and-blue” on the gridiron over the last few weeks–and it’s a trend they hope continues.
The Muskies roared to their third-straight win Friday afternoon with a 41-0 rout of the host Lorette Scorpions, improving their WHSFL record to 3-1 in the process.
Defence has been key to the Muskies’ success so far and it’s one of the main factors head coach Mike Cuzzolino attributed to Friday’s romp.
“Some of the biggest keys to success in this win against Lorette was our defence played outstanding,” he lauded.
“Our guys are assignment competent and if they don’t know, we have such great leadership and good vets who help all the inexperienced guys out,” Cuzzolino noted.
“This is really tight-knit group who believe in each other and believe in themselves.
“The guys stayed positive with each other, and that was really big also,” he added.
“We were able to move the ball and execute on offence and we didn’t spend a lot of time in our own end.”
With just two games remaining in the regular season, Cuzzolino wants his squad to finish strong and secure top spot in the seven-team Currie Division (‘A’).
The Muskies currently sit in a three-way tie for first with the St. John’s Tigers and Elmwood Giants, and the last two games will be crucial for them.
Fort High will host the Maples Marauders (1-2) tomorrow at 4 p.m. before welcoming the Tigers on Oct. 12 at 4 p.m.
The Muskie then have the bye in the final week of the season.
“We need to be better in tackling on special teams, and have more of a sense of urgency when covering on special teams like kickoff,” Cuzzolino stressed.
“[To] get down the field as quick as possible.
“We also took our foot off the gas pedal in the second half offensively,” he added.
“We only managed one touchdown in the second half, and we’ve done that in each of our games so far,” he noted.
“So we need to work on finding a way to find that energy to come out strong and stay strong for the full four quarters.”
In practises leading up to tomorrow’s game against Maples, Cuzzolino said his players would be working hard on fundamentals.
The squad even held an extra practice Sunday afternoon to help get ready for the Marauders in a short week.
“We believe being excellent in fundamentals is the foundation of winning, so we will work on some blocking and tackling,” Cuzzolino said.
“We also want to focus on offence, adding in some new plays and packages, as well as perfecting the plays we have installed.
“We need to win these last two games to lock up first place,” he stressed. “So we just want to continue with making sure our offence is firing on all cylinders.”
Fort High’s offence looked more than fine in Friday’s blowout over winless Lorette (0-3).
Muskie quarterback Brady Meeks was outstanding again, going seven-for-10 for 130 yards and three touchdowns.He also picked up 17 yards on three carries.
“He’s come such a long way this year,” Cuzzolino said of Meeks. “He finally has come into his own as a QB.
“I’m very proud of him. He’s become a great leader and believes in himself and his teammates.
“And he just wants to continue to get better,” Cuzzolino added. “He’s always asking me, ‘What do you see in film that I can work on.’
“I love that he is so hungry to see this team be successful and he will make sure he does his part in that.”
Cam Bowles rushed for 160 yards on 12 carries while punching in two touchdowns.
Brett Allan added 132 yards on six carries and a touchdown.
Riley Argue had five catches for 93 yards while also scoring a touchdown, with Braden Bodnarchuk recording three catches for 56 yards and two scores.
On defence, meanwhile, Colten Allen led the way with nine tackles while also notching two sacks and a forced fumble.
Brett Allan had six tackles, Wyatt Richard had five, and Aaron Scheibler recorded four.
Riley Argue had three tackles while William Richards, Carson Noga, Kaden Kocuiba, and Sheldon Kelly had two each.
Zander Morrison recorded a fumble recovery while Kocuiba forced a safety.
Cuzzolino spoke highly of his offensive line in Friday’s victory and wanted to give them a shout-out.
“Jaykob Ryll, Wyatt Richards, Colten Allen, Jeremiah Potson, Adam George, Aaron Scheibler . . . this offence runs through them literally,” he lauded.
“Also, Riley Argue and Braden Bodnarchuk have established themselves as potent deep threats, and we have two solid running backs in Cam Bowles and Brett Allan,” Cuzzolino added.
“Our Grade 9 fullback, Kael Archie, has done a tremendous job for us also this year,” he enthused.
“Defensively, Kaden Kocuiba, Wyatt Richards, Brett Allan, and Colten Allen have become absolute studs at linebacker.”
Moving forward, Cuzzolino said he would like to see his squad up the intensity at practises and work hard to get better and be playoff-ready.
“We need to continue to push each other every day to get better and to keep getting stronger,” he stressed.
“To be the best, we need to prep harder than any other team.
“Our motto is ‘all in all the time,'” Cuzzolino noted. “We need to show that in practice, too. We need to make sure all our guys show up every day and just work harder than the day before.
“We haven’t played our best football yet,” Cuzzolino said. “We will continue to work and get better and be at our best for the playoffs.”