Shorthanded “Bees” can’t contain Bears

Lou Gauthier was having a hard time trying to recall when he had witnessed so much misfortune befall one team.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” a shell-shocked Gauthier said about the swarm of injuries that reduced his Muskie ‘B’ football squad to having just two available substitutes for the second half of their 40-0 loss here Monday afternoon to the Lake of the Woods (Baudette) Bears.
“They were dropping like flies. We had lots of players who were playing in positions they’ve never even tried to practice in,” Gauthier remarked.
The Muskies entered the game missing a number of players, including starting running back Jordan York (broken wrist from a collision in practice) and starting linebacker Jesse Bowes (concussion).
The body count continued to climb in the first quarter after John Trujillo’s 10-yard touchdown run put the Bears up 7-0.
On the Baudette drive, Muskie receiver/defensive back Terry Carmody took a sharp hit on his thigh and had to come out of the game until part way through the second quarter.
The temporary loss forced offensive co-ordinator Shane Beckett to shuffle his deck, putting starting quarterback Joel Herbert at the running back position and moving regular receiver Steven Boileau to pivot.
The offence predictably staggered and the Bears poured on the pressure, eventually getting a punt block which set up John Clark’s 25-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 before the end of the quarter.
Carmody’s return to the line-up in the second stanza was offset by several other Muskies having to depart the game with various injuries, leaving Fort High in the unenviable position of having to stick receivers in on the offensive line as substitutes.
“The problems really began when the ‘C’ team brought a lot of our guys to Thunder Bay for the two games,” Gauthier said about the Sept. 27-28 exhibitions series.
“Then we had to play in Warroad the next night. It really caused wear and tear on our guys.”
Kyle Block pounded up the middle for a three-yard rushing major to increase the lead before Clark struck again, scooting 30 yards on a fake reverse to make it 27-0 at the half.
The 12-minute stop time quarters were shortened to 10 minutes with limited stop time in the second half to ease the burden on the Muskies, whom Gauthier credited for not throwing in the towel in such adverse circumstances.
“We got our only first down of the game in the fourth quarter, so that tells me that we never quit,” said Gauthier.
Bears back-up quarterback Todd Perala, who relieved starter Jay Clark at the start of the second half, showed cat-like quickness in darting to a 17-yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 33-0.
He then burned the exhausted Muskie defence again with a 45-yard scramble to paydirt in the fourth quarter to finish off the rout.
Gauthier’s goal before his squad’s season-ending game in Roseau next Tuesday (Oct. 14) against the Rams is simple.
“Hopefully, we’ll have enough healthy bodies before the game starts and we’ll go from there,” he said with a resigned laugh, before adding, “We won’t even be able to practice full out because I’m afraid we’ll get more guys hurt.”