Muskie rally falls short

Staff

With 31 points, the Muskie football team notched its best offensive performance of the season here Friday.
Unfortunately for the black-and-gold, the St. Norbert Celtics scored 41.
The loss in their regular-season finale left Fort High (1-6) in the basement, meaning they have to face the first-place Dakota Lancers in the WHSFL quarter-finals this Friday in Winnipeg.
The Lancers rolled to a 42-0 win over the black-and-gold back on Oct. 8 in Winnipeg.
The Muskie offence proved it could be explosive when it wants to be against St. Norbert as all the points came in the second half.
Fort High fell behind 21-0 after the first quarter and trailed 27-0 at halftime.
Although the black-and-gold weren’t able to sustain drives in the first half, it did have a couple of highlights.
Quarterback Tobijah Gerber found receiver Brad McDonald for a 37-yard gain in the first quarter to help the Muskies get out of the shadows of their own goalposts.
When the drive later stalled, punter Britton Green executed a fake to perfection—rumbling for the first down although Fort High went two-and-out from there.
After allowing a couple of long touchdowns later in the half, including a 54-yard catch-and-run, the Muskies responded well in the second half.
In the early stages of the third quarter, Fort High blocked a Celtics’ punt at midfield and recovered the ball at the St. Norbert 50-yard line.
Gerber then marched the Muskies downfield and later found McDonald for a 15-yard major, although the unsuccessful convert left Fort High down 27-6 at 7:27.
Special teams immediately came up big again as Cody Bodnar recovered the ensuing kick-off. Gerber promptly found Colton Craig for a 29-yard touchdown just 1:12 after the McDonald major to bring Fort High to within 27-12.
The black-and-gold got it going defensively, too, as McDonald recorded a quick interception to put the Muskie offence back on the field.
However, that drive ended with Gerber being sacked for a 12-yard loss on third-and-one.
The Celtics quickly responded with a couple of quick touchdowns to restore their comfortable lead.
Before the third quarter was through, however, Gerber hooked up with Craig once again, finishing a 27-yard play with 38.5 seconds on the clock.
After the two-point conversion was unsuccessful, Fort High trailed 41-18 after three.
In the fourth quarter, the defence held, forcing a Celtics’ fumble with 6:14 to play.
With 3:10 remaining, Craig hauled in his third touchdown pass of the game from McDonald, who had taken over at quarterback for the injured Gerber.
The 20-yard completion brought Fort High to within 41-25, and came a play after a John Myers’ touchdown romp was called back because of a penalty.
To go along with his three touchdowns, Craig ended up with 12 receptions for 160 total yards.
On defence, the Muskies continued to press—and were successful as linebacker Joe Ball recovered a fumble near the Muskie 34-yard line and charged all the way to paydirt with 30 seconds left.
However, the Celtics came up big on the two-point convert attempt to keep the gap at 10 points, dashing Fort High’s comeback hopes.