Muskie footballers lose to Schooners

The Muskie football team struggled offensively in their first road game of the season, losing 16-6 to the host Sturgeon Creek Schooners yesterday afternoon in Winnipeg.
The Schooners’ defence dominated the line of scrimmage all game, containing Muskie running back Terry Carmody while forcing numerous two-and-out possessions.
“They’re a well-polished team,” Muskie head coach Bob Swing said of Sturgeon Creek, which is coached by former black-and-gold standout quarterback Brett Watt.
“Give them credit for knowing what they wanted to do,” Swing added. “We made some adjustments and we weren’t at our best.
“We just didn’t have that extra little step. Our intensity just wasn’t where we needed it to be,” he remarked.
While the offence struggled to sustain drives and put points on the board, the Muskie defence did its best to keep the team in the game. They made the Schooners work hard for every yard they got.
“They did a wonderful job of hanging around and giving us a chance to steal a game in the end,” Swing said. “We just couldn’t do it.”
Sturgeon Creek’s offence got off to a strong start, running the ball effectively between the tackles and driving deep into Muskie territory.
But while the Schooners’ ground game was clicking, their passing attack was less efficient—and Muskie defender Matt Dipiero jumped all over what appeared to be a Schooner slant pass for the interception.
Dipiero, also listed as the Muskies’ number-two running back, broke a tackle and might have scored had it not been for a solid tackle by a Schooner lineman at mid-field.
The Muskie offence took to the field for the first time with solid field position and immediately went back to what had served them so well a week earlier against the Kildonan East Eagles—namely running back Terry Carmody.
However, the Schooners’ coaching staff obviously had done their homework as the defence stymied Carmody’s rushing attempts and forced a Muskie punt.
The Schooners’ second drive closely resembled their first as they moved the ball well on the ground—pushing the Muskies deep into their own end.
But once again, Fort High’s secondary came to the rescue when Tyler Huntley made a nice over-the-shoulder interception of a Schooners’ pass attempt to keep the home team off the board.
Despite the early-game struggles, the Schooners got their passing attack going in the second quarter, connecting over the middle for some nice gains.
The Muskie defence once again would hold but a Schooners’ punt pinned the black-and-gold within their 10-yard line.
Two rushes netted the team minimal gains, forcing a third down punting situation. Back up deep in their own end, the Muskie coaching staff opted to concede a safety—exchanging two points for better field position.
But the move did not pay off as anticipated as the Schooners got the ball back and promptly marched down the field with a good mix of run and pass plays.
The drive was capped off on a well-executed play action pass for a touchdown.
The point-after attempt was blocked by the Muskies, leaving the Schooners up 8-0 at halftime.
Muskie kick returner Steve Boileau did his best to spark his team’s offence to start the second half, returning the kick-off to mid-field.
However, as they would for most of the day, the Muskies struggled to move the ball with any sort of consistency and were forced to punt.
The Schooners’ offence was quiet until the start of the fourth quarter when they began a drive on their half of the field.
The Muskie defence eventually would stiffen, stuffing the Schooners on the one yard-line on a third down quarterback sneak attempt.
The high of the defensive stop would be quickly erased, however, when Carmody was tackled in the end zone for a safety two plays later—extending the Schooner lead to 10-0.
Sturgeon Creek would add another touchdown late in the fourth quarter against a worn-down Muskie defence. The point-after attempt went wide right, but the 16-0 lead put the home team in the driver’s seat with only two minutes to play.
To their credit, though, the Muskies did not quit.
Carmody, hounded by the Schooners’ aggressive defence throughout the afternoon, finally found some running room, returning the kick-off 80 yards for a touchdown.
The Muskies then tried a fake point-after attempt for the two-point conversion in order to bring them within a single score, but the pass fell incomplete after hitting the crossbar of the uprights.
The Schooners then held on for the 16-6 victory.
The Muskies’ next game is slated this Tuesday (Sept. 19) at 3 p.m. when they travel to Dryden to face the Eagles.

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