Muskies return to gridiron Saturday

After having not played a game in three weeks, the Muskie football team finally will get a chance to shake off the cobwebs Saturday when they tackle Crocus Plains (Brandon) in an exhibition game there.
But Muskie head coach Bob Swing said he doesn’t expect the black-and-gold to look out of place against Crocus Plains even if they haven’t played since their 62-0 rout over the Sturgeon Creek Schooners here back on Sept. 18.
Swing said the team has spent the previous two weeks watching game films and hitting the weight room. This week sees them get back into their regular routine of practice.
“We’re really not at all concerned with what they do,” Swing said Monday afternoon. “We are going to basically force them to stop our attack.”
A big part of that offensive attack is the running tandem of Terry LaBelle and Dana Preston, who have literally run over their Manitoba opposition in leading the Muskies to a perfect 3-0 record (their only loss this season was a 28-7 decision to the International Falls Broncos).
“We are going to run our basic running plays and we’ll see if they can stop them,” said Swing, adding both Gary Wager and Mark Mercure probably will see action at quarterback Saturday.
On defence, the Muskies have been practising several new fronts which will try to take advantage of their speed and aggressiveness.
Swing said they usually “send somebody” in some form of a blitz on a regular basis but added this new defensive system won’t disguise their plays as much as in the past.
Meanwhile, Brandon head coach Jamie Freiheit knows full well his team will have their hands full with the Muskies but added this is an opportunity for his kids to play against a top-notch opponent.
“We’ve lost a lot of key players and we have a lot of 13- and 14-year-olds so we’re in a rebuilding year,” said Freiheit, whose team is 1-3-1 this season. “We know the Muskies are going to be tough but we’re going to go out there and have some fun.
“They have a very experienced team that has played together for a while and we’re probably going to be put on our [butts] but we are going to learn from it.
“We don’t care if we get beat. Guess what? Life’s tough, wear a helmet or go play volleyball,” he added.
In related news, the Muskies plan to take five to 10 players from the ‘B’ program to Brandon on Saturday so they can gain some valuable experience at the senior level.
And Swing already has confirmed the Muskie football program will add a ‘C’ team (for grades seven and eight) for next season.
“I spent a lot of time in Winnipeg recently and the juniors, even though they are two years younger than the Winnipeg players, are still more technically and fundamentally sound,” he noted.
“I’m not sure how much they’ll play but it doesn’t make sense to take them to Brandon and not play them.”
The Muskies close out their season Oct. 14 when they take on the St. James Rods senior football team at Winnipeg Stadium.