Muskies blanked by St. Paul’s #2

The Muskie football team saw their record fall to 0-2 following a 35-0 loss to the host St. Paul’s Crusaders (#2) on Friday afternoon.
Head coach Vince Gouin said their poor showing hinged on “mental breakdowns” throughout the team.
He added the squad is spending this week working on fundamentals, sharpening plays, and emphasizing a commitment to the team in order to put on a good show for a lively Homecoming crowd this Friday against the Dryden Eagles.
“The players need to do the assignments that the coaches have been planning all week for,” Gouin stressed.
“We played a decent first quarter [against St. Paul’s], but once they found our defensive backs weren’t doing their assignments that the coaching staff asked them to do, they picked on that weakness.”
Gouin noted while the offence didn’t score, the defence was as sound as he had hoped—at least in terms of fundamentals.
“Physically, we match up well with just about every team we play,” he remarked.
Senior defensive nose tackle DJ Hunsperger—named as one of the standout performers of the game by Gouin and his staff—agreed there were bright spots on the back end.
“Our defensive line, they ran nothing through the centre,” he noted.
However, that point brought the team little comfort on the long ride back from Winnipeg after what Hunsperger called “probably one of the worst games we ever played.”
“It was pretty sombre,” he recalled. “Lightened up a little on the bus ride home but [in] hindsight, it’s always easier to look at things in a different light.”
Gouin said there were bright points, and that while he had qualms with the execution, the effort was, for the most part, not in doubt.
“A lot of players never did give up. They tried hard, they kept trying,” he stressed. “The effort was there, just mentally they weren’t ready to play.”
The Muskies’ next see action this Friday at 1 p.m. in the Homecoming game against Dryden. The Eagles, like the Muskies, hold an 0-2 record following blowout losses to the Kenora Broncos (37-7) and Sturgeon Heights (44-0).
The similarities between the two teams aren’t lost on anyone with the Muskies. “The whole coaching staff is hoping that this will be our turnaround game. This is a way we can turn our season around,” Gouin said.
Hunsperger freely admitted he’s excited about Homecoming, and other players broke from their stretches just to agree that everyone on the team has a number of reasons to want this Friday to be the start of something new.
“Our team’s played them before and we usually do well,” Hunsperger said. “Looking for it to be the actual start of the season.”
Gouin knows that his players are looking forward to the Homecoming match, but he wants their minds to be on football and on the team.
“The team isn’t down at all, but it’s time for them to start playing up to their potential,” he said.