The dress rehearsal wasn’t pretty and the real show will get even uglier if the bugs are not ironed out in a week’s time.
In what ended up being a playoff preview, the St. Norbert Celtics used first-half offence and second-half defence to dump the visiting Muskies 27-6 on Friday in the regular-season finale for both squads.
With both teams finishing at 2-4, they will face off again this Friday in Winnipeg in the first round of the newly-created 4th Division playoffs involving the bottom seven finishers in the Currie Division (‘A’).
The winner moves on to face the Portage Collegiate Institute Trojans (3-3) in the semi-finals the following week.
“We are so much better than what we’ve shown these last two weeks,” said Muskie head coach Mike Cuzzolino, whose team started the season 2-2 before losing what appeared to be winnable games against the Maples Marauders (2-4) and Celtics.
“The guys are very disappointed but looking forward to the rematch this week,” he added.
St. Norbert returned a Brandon Whitecrow interception for a “pick-six” on the first drive of the game to put the Celtics ahead after the pass bounced off of the normally sure hands of WHSFL leading receiver Cole Kowalski.
Then on St. Norbert’s opening drive, the Celtics turned a sweep run around the end into a long touchdown jaunt to move in front 14-0.
Whitecrow responded by finding Kowalski on a 55-yard catch-and-run play.
With regular placekicker Cam Lidkea unavailable due to an unspecified injury, back-up kicker Dylan Ossachuk missed the convert to keep the game at 14-6.
Another long touchdown run for St. Norbert (no convert) had the score 20-6 at halftime.
The Celtics tacked on a one-yard plunge for a major in the third quarter to account for all the second-half scoring.
Fort High not only lost the game Friday but also their main punt and kick-off returner and receiver/running back threat in Dougie deBernardeaux.
The Currie Division’s special teams player-of-the-week in two of the past three weeks, deBernardeaux went out with a possible concussion in the second half and did not return.
His status for Friday’s playoff game was unknown as of press time.
The other 4th Division playoff game this Friday will see the Neelin Spartans (2-4) tangle with the Daniel McIntyre Maroons (2-4).
Maples awaits that winner the following week.