Team struggling to find opponents

While the Muskies are having success on the gridiron again this season, the team has struggled to find opponents to play exhibition games against in recent weeks.
With Dryden and Kenora dropping their NorWOSSA football programs this season due to the troubled contract talks between the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board and its high school teachers, the Muskies were left without a league.
And setting up exhibition games against schools from Manitoba and Minnesota has proven more difficult than first realized by head coach Bob Swing. In fact, several teams have pulled out of games against the black-and-gold recently while giving little reason for their change of heart.
“We’ve been trying to look for games but, for whatever reason, teams have started to pull out and don’t want to play us,” Swing said late Monday afternoon while awaiting word of a possible matchup with a squad from Hawley, Mn.
“River East and the Maples [both from Winnipeg] have said they don’t want to play us despite the fact, with our travel budget, it would have been a minimal expense for them,” he added.
Fort High vice-principal Ian Simpson said it’s unfortunate the football team has had to endure such a roller-coaster season which has seen their schedule change on a weekly, or sometimes even daily, basis.
“I feel for Coach Swing in that he has worked so hard in setting up games and then to have a couple of teams since drop out on them,” he lamented.
The Muskies are scheduled to host former star quarterback Brett Watt and his Sturgeon Creek Schooners here Friday at 2 p.m. in the team’s annual Homecoming game. And Simpson warned this could be their last home game of the season.
The Muskies will have a bye the following week, then will await word if they travel to either Hawley or Winnipeg to take on the St. Paul’s Crusaders, who the black-and-gold dominated here just a few weeks ago.
But St. Paul’s may fall through because of a serious case of mononucleosis that has plagued the team.
The Muskies then are slated to travel to Brandon on Oct. 10 for a matchup against Crocus Plains, leaving the black-and-gold with a season that could feature as little as six games (all exhibition).
In recent years, the team has played as many as eight to 10 games in a season, and Swing was disappointed with the shortened schedule.
“It’s the only way the players will get better,” he said of the preferred longer schedule. “You can work hard all you want in practice but you only get better in games.”
And he is left up in arms over the refusal of several teams to play them.
“It’s completely unfair for our guys because they want to play football. We will go to [their fields],” he stressed. “It’s just unfair that coaches are making decisions to not play football without consulting their players.
“It doesn’t matter what happens to our players each week, they just want to go out there and line up again,” he added. “It’s just a sport to them and they just want to play.”


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