Muskies fall to 0-2

Although the Muskies lost their home-opener to the Grant Park Pirates by a 29-17 score last Friday afternoon, they accomplished something that has been a focus for the team—always be improving.
“We were much better this week than we were last week [a 30-0 loss to the Churchill Bulldogs], and we’ll be much better next week than we were this week,” head coach Bob Swing said after the game.
“Our expectation in every minute of every practice, every practice of every day, is to get better at what you do, period,” Swing added.
But the Muskies haven’t been improving in the department of limiting mental errors, which took them out of Friday’s game against the Pirates, who were able to capitalize on their miscues.
Easily-avoidable penalties, such as offsides and running into the kicker, gave the Pirates excellent field position while keeping the Muskie offence off the field.
“What did we talk about prior to the game? The team that makes the most mistakes is going to lose today, and we just made way too many mistakes,” said defensive backs coach Greg Allan.
“That’s all. It’s that cut and dry—we just made way too many mistakes.
“Once again, we played hard until the finish, our guys never quit, but it’s the same old, same old,” he added. “We’ve got to limit our mistakes and we’ve got to limit the errors out there.”
The Pirates, who also entered the game 0-1, opened the scoring at the nine-minute mark of the first quarter when Trevor MacFarlane reached the end zone on a 35-yard pass play.
Grant Park then got a safety to extend their lead to 9-0 after an interception by Jon Wood gave the Muskies the ball at their own one-yard line.
The visitors then made it 16-0 when Jon Lundrigan grabbed a 10-yard pass from quarterback Graham Thompson, who is a member of the Manitoba under-17 team.
Larry Pham was able to get the Muskies back in the thick of things with 1:30 left in the first half when he snagged a pass from Ty Griffith for a 25-yard scoring play, which was converted by Craig McTavish.
Then the black-and-gold looked strong early in the second half, starting with Johannes Gerber recovering a fumble which gave the Muskies field position at the 54-yard line.
The Muskies drove deep into the Pirates’ zone, thanks to rushing by Thomas Edwards, but they eventually had to settle for a McTavish field goal to cut the lead to 16-10.
MacFarlane, the primary receiver on the Manitoba under-17 team, then struck again with a 35-yard scoring play to make the score 24-10 (the Pirates converted the two-point conversion).
Later, two unnecessary roughness penalties by the Pirates gave the Muskies excellent field position and Edwards was able to scamper in on a 25-yard rush that brought the Muskies within seven points, but that was the closest they would get.
The Pirates manufactured another safety and then converted on a 15-yard field goal that gave them the 29-17 win.
“They [Grant Park] have a phenomenal quarterback and made some great passing plays,” said Allan. “We were in position a few times and they just made better passes.”
The Muskies next face the 0-2 Kelvin Clippers here Friday, with kick-off at 4 p.m.