Muskies set to defend NorWOSSA crown

With several players out of the lineup for various reasons, last Friday’s game here against the Kenora Broncos definitely was gut-check time for the black-and-gold.
It was their toughest test of the NorWOSSA campaign so far–and they passed it with flying colours.
The Muskies capped off a perfect regular season (6-0) by scraping out a hard-fought 14-9 win over the second-place Broncos (2-4), setting the stage for the NorWOSSA final here this Friday at 1:30 p.m.
This latest victory was led by the capital ‘D’–as in defence. The defensive unit, strong all season for the Muskies, once again was spectacular.
Time and time again, the black-and-gold stopped Bronco drives. And more importantly, they also did it when the game on the line.
Leading 14-7, Kenora was stymied on a third-and-two gamble on their own 38-yard line with about four minutes to go in the third quarter. Then leading 14-9 with 2:43 to play in the game, the Muskies shut down the Broncos’ air attack and forced them to turn the ball over near midfield.
But the big plays didn’t stop there.
The Muskies stopped another Kenora drive just over a minute later when Brad Wakefield made a fine athletic play to intercept a Kenora pass near the right sideline.
Then the Broncos had one final shot at the Muskie end zone only to be denied once again when Jamie Booth picked off quarterback Don Fedus to ice the narrow victory.
The Broncos did manage one big play in the second quarter when Derrick Schelski galloped 75 yards to put the Broncos inside the Muskie 10-yard line.
The Broncos later scored on a quarterback keeper to tie the game at 7-7.
The Muskies opened the scoring with just two seconds left in the first quarter when Terry Richards bulled his way into the end zone from eight yards out for a 7-0 lead.
After Kenora had tied the score, Adam McTavish missed a 35-yard field goal try on the second-last play of the half to leave it 7-7.
The Muskies then took advantage of another fine defensive play early in the third quarter when Ryan Mason recovered a fumble. On the ensuing drive, Scott Witherspoon and McTavish each had big runs to take the team down to Kenora’s four-yard line.
Witherspoon then capped the march with a touchdown run for a 14-7 lead.
The Muskies had a chance to increase their lead at the 5:24 mark of the fourth but McTavish’s 23-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Then the Broncos came up with a huge special teams play minutes later.
Punting on third down, a low snap from the Muskie centre eluded McTavish and rolled into the end zone. McTavish did a great job of pouncing on the loose ball, with two Kenora players right on his heels, to concede the two-point safety and avoid the potential game-tying touchdown.
That sliced the Muskie lead to 14-9–and gave the Broncos possession of the ball–but the black-and-gold defence staved off Kenora for the rest of the game.