Muskies snap Homecoming drought

They were feeling the pressure, there was no doubt to that, and anyone who thought otherwise didn’t appreciate the magnitude of Friday afternoon’s game between the Muskies and visiting Dryden Eagles.
It was Homecoming—and the last time the Muskies won the big game was five years ago.
There also were playoff implications as only eight of the 11 teams in the Andy Currie Division advance to the post-season.
Going into the game, the Muskies were 0-3 but steadily improving. In fact, quarterback Blake Wepruk was Joe Namath-like in guaranteeing a victory.
Facing Dryden (0-3) also rekindled a rivalry with the Muskies’ old NorWOSSA opponent.
“There was an absolute huge amount of pressure to win this game,” said head coach Bob Swing.
But instead of collapsing from all the weight on their shoulders, the black-and-gold looked like Atlas in the way they focused their thoughts and controlled their actions to pull out an 11-0 win in front of a large crowd at Muskie Field.
“During most of our games, we’ve got the six people that are always there and that was pretty much it,” noted Muskie lineman D.J. Howells.
“[But] today, the sidelines and stands were full and people were parked on the side watching and wrapped around the end zone, and it really helped us today.”
The Muskies’ confidence got a boost early when Steven Boileau booted a 10-yard field goal that had been set up by a 17-yard Terry Carmody rush from Dryden’s 30-yard line.
But though the Muskies regularly got good field position because of the strong play of their defence, they weren’t able to create any more points in the first half.
“You’ve got 500 fans out here and I think we kind of lulled them to sleep for a lot of the game, but a ‘W’ is a ‘W’ and it is what it is,” said offensive co-ordinator Shane Beckett.
They sealed that ‘W’ on a nine-play scoring drive in the fourth quarter that began when Boileau scampered for 25 yards off a counter play that started a domino effect of good things.
“You’re only going to be able to run those a couple of times a game and coach Beckett did a good job in setting it up,” said Swing. “It was a huge play.”
“Everything worked right on that play,” added Boileau.
After a minimal gain on a swing pass, Alex Wepruk then picked up a first down on a tough run that was Bryan Adams-like in how it “cut like a knife” through Dryden’s defence.
Then on second and eight, Wepruk got another big run—this one for 12 yards—which garnered a time-out from the Eagles’ sideline.
The stoppage didn’t help, though, as Carmody carried for five yards to bring the ball to the 11-yard line, then Wepruk got another first down when he brought the ball to the three.
“I think as we get further into the season, the value of Alex helping in the running game will be enormous,” said Swing.
Wepruk finished with 35 yards on six carries.
Carmody, who was a game-time decision because of an injured right knee, then went in for the touchdown on second and one that sealed the win (Wepruk later punted through the end zone for a single point that rounded out the scoring).
“That’s a beautiful thing—a shutout for the win,” said Muskie defensive co-ordinator Lou Gauthier.
Aside from the 105 yards on 15 carries they allowed to Dryden running back Stephen Hipfner, the Muskie defence had another solid effort and created three fumbles.
The last time the black-and-gold earned a shutout was an 18-0 win over the Surgeon Creek Schooners in a pre-season game last season.
Carmody contributed 91 yards on 19 carries while Wepruk went three for 12 for 48 yards and an interception, with all of those passing yards being caught by Boileau.
The Muskies, currently tied with Sturgeon Creek and Tec Voc at 1-3, now will look to ride the wave of emotion into this Friday’s game against the Maples Marauders (3-1).
Kick-off is slated for 4 p.m. at Muskie Field.
“This is huge,” Howells said of their win over Dryden. “It’s the first step up a big ladder, but the first step is always the toughest.”

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