Muskies romp to season-opening win

There are several age-old sports adages that bear true no matter how many times their validity is tested.
Quality pitching is a must for any team looking to win a World Series ring. Or that elite-level goaltending is the key ingredient to a successful Stanley Cup run.
And in football? Pundits from Howard Cosell to John Madden agree—a staunch defence and quality ground attack are the secrets to post-season success.
The Muskie football team displayed their ability in both those aspects of the game in their season-opening 24-0 win over the Kildonan East Eagles here Friday afternoon.
Running back Terry Carmody led the Muskies offensively using his unique combination of speed and power to batter the Eagles’ defence.
The senior tailback racked up a tidy 183 yards on 26 carries, along with two touchdowns, over three quarters before the Muskie coaching staff shut him down to allow several back-up players gain valuable game experience.
Despite his personal achievements, Carmody was more interested in talking about his teammates’ performances after the game.
“They did good,” he said of the offensive line. “And every single time they didn’t make a hole, [fullback] Gus [Hunsperger] would just run right through and plow right through them.
“There was always somewhere to run outside and right up the middle.”
In addition to Carmody’s standout performance, the Muskies’ got solid production from back-up Tyler Brusven in the fourth quarter—something offensive co-ordinator Shane Beckett was happy to see.
“Tyler’s been a workhorse for us in practice and he deserves every touch of the ball he gets,” Beckett said.
In fact, Brusven picked up right where Carmody had left off, moving the ball effectively between the tackles while chewing up the clock.
Lost in the numbers of both Muskie running backs was the solid performance of the team’s young offensive line.
“They took the coaching we did throughout the game and they took it to heart and applied it,” Beckett said.
“That’s all we can ask for,” he added. “They weren’t making the same mistake two or three times and that’s a real positive.
“They’re going to be something as the season goes on.”
While the offensive line did many things well during the game, Beckett was most impressed with how they responded once Carmody came out of the game at the start of the fourth quarter.
“We went to the o-line at the start of the fourth quarter and said, “Listen guys, it’s time to show the rest of the league that it doesn’t matter who our running back is, we can still run the ball at people,’” Beckett remarked.
If the performance of the Muskie offence was impressive, the defence’s performance was downright dominant.
The black-and-gold kept the Eagles off-balance all day long with their aggressive, attack-the-ball style—never allowing the visiting team to seriously threaten their end zone.
“I thought we did a very, very good job of getting hats on the ball,” head coach Bob Swing said of his defence’s performance. “We had a lot of guys swarming to the ball on defence, which is vitally important.”
Josh Stevens had a stellar personal performance, recording three tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery.
With so many positives coming out of the Muskies’ first game, it would be easy to start predicting big things for this season.
But Swing was quick to say that while the win over the Eagles was a nice way to start the season, they’ll need to stay focused if they are to reach their goal of competing for a WHSFL championship.
“It’s good because it appears that we’re still building on the success we had at the back end of last season,” he said. “We just have to keep our head down and worry about the next play, the next opponent, and not get too distracted.”
The Muskies next game is scheduled for tomorrow (Sept. 14) at 3 p.m. when they travel to Sturgeon Creek to face a team coached by former Muskie standout quarterback Brett Watt.
Due to the friendships between the Muskie coaches and Watt’s Sturgeon Creek sideline staff, Swing knows there will be very few secrets heading into this game.
“They’ve coached and played with us and they’re close friends with the coaching staff, so there’s not going to be any secrets. But I’m sure there’ll be someone trying to fool someone,” Swing said of tomorrow’s match-up.
The game will have particular meaning for Swing, who has a friendly rivalry going with Watt.
“I look forward to it because you always want to beat your best friend and Coach Watt is my best friend,” he remarked. “I’d never lost to him until last year so we’re looking to repay the favour.”
On Friday, the Muskies took an early lead against the Eagles on their first possession after the defence had forced the visiting team to punt.
Carmody carried the ball several times for moderate gains as the black-and-gold marched down the field and into Eagle territory.
The drive eventually would stall on the Eagles’ 25-yard line but kicker Steve Boileau gave the Muskies an early 3-0 lead courtesy of a 33-yard field goal.
The Muskies were on the move again midway through the second quarter after another Eagles’ punt.
And once again, it was Carmody who shouldered the bulk of the offensive load, moving the team into Eagle territory and eventually crossing the goal-line for a 10-0 lead just before the halftime siren.
The Eagles kicked off to start the second half hoping to contain the Muskies’ ground attack.
But the results were eerily similar to those of the opening 30 minutes of play as Carmody broke loose for a 50-yard run—setting up a Blake Wepruk to Brian Glavish touchdown pass.
Boileau’s extra point attempt was blocked, but the Muskies got that back a few minutes later on a missed field goal attempt when the Eagles’ return man was tackled in the end zone.
Carmody ran for his second touchdown of the day late in the third quarter to extend the lead to 24-0 and seal the victory.