Muskie ‘C’ squad drops games

The Thunder Bay Minor Football Association’s hospitality towards the Muskie ‘C’ football team was extremely generous—at least until the opening kickoff.
The black-and-gold received souvenir pins and had their team picture taken to be added to their host’s archival scrapbook. But two separate Thunder Bay squads scrapped the notion of the Muskies also taking home a win, beating the visitors in two exhibition games last weekend.
“It was a good time for the kids,” said Muskie head coach Dean Bruyere, whose team of mostly 11- and 12-year-olds were in tough against the Thunder Bay squads, composed of 12- and 13-year-olds.
“Everyone was pretty excited,” he added. “[And] our guys have nothing to be ashamed of. I just hope if we decide to do this again some time that we be playing teams where we match up evenly in terms of age.”
On Saturday, the Muskies were doubled 26-13 in a game Bruyere believed could have ended up in his team’s favour.
“We had a couple of long touchdown passes dropped by our guys that would have changed the whole complexion of the game,” recalled Bruyere, whose team got touchdown runs from Matt Badiuk and Matt DePiero.
“We’re comparable in size with these guys, but they’re much more crisp than us, and they run the ball well,” he noted.
Sunday’s 35-7 defeat was much more one-sided, with considerable credit going to the prankster who pulled the fire alarm at the Muskies’ hotel at 5:30 a.m.—stirring the groggy gridiron troops from their beds.
“We were worn out, that was certainly part of it,” said Bruyere. “The team we played, though, was bigger and stronger than us, and scored on us at will on the outside.”
Fort Frances marched to Thunder Bay’s 10-yard line on their first drive, but then fumbled the ball away. And when the host squad came right back down the field and opened the scoring with a major, the writing was on the wall.
DePiero scored the Muskies’ lone touchdown on a long run off a sweep play early in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Blake Wepruk added the one-point conversion by running the ball into the end zone.
“Down there, they’re trying to promote the kicking game more, so you receive one point for what would normally be a two-point conversion and two points if you successfully kick the convert,” Bruyere explained.
Regardless of the score, Bruyere considered his team’s defensive effort over the weekend to have been even better than in their previous game—an 8-6 loss to the Lake of the Woods (Baudette) Bears on Sept. 22.
It’s the offence that has him looking for answers.
“Our quarterback’s timing was off, the passes weren’t crisp and clean, and our receivers kind of quit running their patterns and would have the ball overthrown to them,” he said.
“But we’ll keep getting better.”
The Muskies’ scheduled game against the Grade 8 squad of the International Falls Broncos on Oct. 9 has been cancelled due to the Broncos being unable to field a Grade 8 team.
That means the ‘C’ squad will close its season against the Broncos’ Grade 7 team on Oct. 14 over in the Falls.