Muskies win Homecoming

If there ever was a time to pinpoint a key week of practices and preparations by the Muskie football team, one need not look past last week as they got set for the annual Homecoming game.
“We had a problem with commitment all year round,” admitted Muskie head coach Bob Swing just minutes after his team eked out a 10-7 victory over the Churchill Bulldogs.
“This week, players, coaches, and everyone re-committed. What you saw today was what you can expect for the rest of the year,” he added.
“We had a lot more intensive practices now and I think we’ll play harder down the stretch,” echoed Muskie quarterback Andrew George, who was four for 13 for 100 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.
“I feel good and the team feels good in finishing the season strong.”
The Muskies (3-2), who currently sit in a tie for third with the Bulldogs in the Winnipeg High School Football League ‘AA’ conference, will look to stop their trend of win one, lose the next against the Sisler Spartans (2-2) this Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Muskie Field.
The Muskies held the Bulldogs scoreless over the second half last Friday afternoon, helped by two blocked punts by Kevin Gemmell and an interception by Brad Wakefield with 55 seconds to go.
“No one was blocking me throughout the game,” said Gemmell. “I had been close several times and I was able to blitz.”
The black-and-gold had taken the 10-7 lead on the final play of the first half when wide receiver Adam McTavish caught a hitch pass from George and ran 60 yards to the end zone.
The Muskies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 27-yard field goal by McTavish after an apparent Muskie touchdown run by Dan Hettinga was wiped out on a penalty.
But Churchill battled back in the second quarter and took a 7-3 lead when running back John Shellard got into the end zone.
Muskie running back Jock Gemmell had a quiet outing Friday, carrying the ball six times for just 13 yards. McTavish caught four receptions for 100 yards.
Bulldog head coach Gerry Urbanovich said his team had chances to take the lead back but admitted to being a little deflated after the Muskies’ scored just before halftime.
“That kind of broke our backs. [McTavish] made a great athletic play,” he said. “We had the whole second half to take the lead back but we never got things going.
“But you got to give coach Swing and Fort Frances a lot of credit. They were a team that was really prepared to play. They deserve the victory.”
The game coincided with the first signs of flurries in the area. While the sky cleared during the third quarter, the windy chill did not–but it didn’t matter to Swing.
“The weather was great,” he remarked. “These are the conditions football should be played in.”
This also was the closest Homecoming game in recent memory for the Muskies. For Swing, whose team is just five week into its first season in the WHSFL, still can’t get over how challenging the football is week in, week out.
“It’s never been this competitive before. It’s invigorating,” he said.
In the related news, the Muskie ‘B’ team (0-3) will host Warroad tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.