Region’s gridiron cousins doing well

You have to be at least a little curious.
A little curious how the Muskies’ old NorWOSSA football rivals–the Kenora Broncos and Dryden Eagles–are faring in their respective debuts in the Winnipeg High School Football League season.
Allow me to be your go-between. Just think of me as a note-passer in gym class.
Kenora is 4-0 so far to lead the ‘A’ conference (a level below where the Muskies are playing) while Dryden is 3-1–good for a tie for third place.
“There haven’t been any huge adjustments,” said Eagles’ head coach Geoff Zilkahns on how his team has adapted this year. “We just needed to reorganize internally.
“The new challenges are kind of nice. [Winnipeg teams are] not hugely different,” he added.
While the Muskies have held their own in the tough ‘AA’ conference, you gotta believe they are keeping an eye on their provincial brothers.
“You always have an eye on them. I’m happy with how they’re doing,” said Muskie head coach Bob Swing. “This is what’s best for the [WHSFL]. I haven’t met a [Winnipeg] coach that hasn’t been looking forward to playing an Ontario team.”
If you’re a follower of Muskie football, you can’t help but be familiar with these programs. After all, these three teams were all that encompassed NorWOSSA for the longest time and have squared off against each other countless times.
Many times to the point where Swing probably gave me one of my favourite quotes of the summer upon announcing their entry into the WHSFL back in July:
“We basically got tired of beating each other up.”
Well put. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know it was Fort High delivering the majority of the beatings. I’ve seen last season scores of 37-15 and 49-28. Not clear blue blowouts but definite wins for sure.
During one of these debacles (a 43-0 win over Dryden last Sept.15), a Muskie player was even quoted as saying, “We stomped on them really good.”
Classic stuff (this was my second favourite quote, even though I didn’t ask the question for it).
But you can’t tell me watching the Muskies blow out Kenora and Dryden every week was fun. Now there’s actually a challenge–something to look forward to on a regular basis.
And what if the Muskies lose? So be it, I say. As long as the players learn a lot about the game this season and the years they are with the program, that’s all that matters.
I have to agree with Swing in saying the Winnipeg experience is a win-win situation, regardless of what the won-loss outcome is come next month.
Zilkahns said as long as his team continues to improve, they might find themselves in the ‘AA’ conference next year. “It would be nice to be able to play each other at least once a year. [But] we’ll sacrifice that in the short term,” he said.
As such, this Friday’s Homecoming game probably won’t have the same tradition or rivalry of years past. But it should have one thing–a good, competitive finish. And for any follower of any game, that’s all you can ask for.
On that note, I hope you all enjoy the Homecoming game. From what my fellow staff and players’ parents have been telling me, it should be quite the show. I wonder, though, will the school band be out on the field to play a little “Hang on Sloopy” at halftime?
If band conductor John Dutton needs another clarinet player to handle some solos, I’m available.
• • •
Shoutout time:
Borderland racing president Dave Allen said tickets are available for the racing season’s year-end awards banquet. The ceremony, which begins with cocktails at 5 p.m., will be held Oct. 20 at the Ukrainian Hall.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Pinewood Sports or Busch’s Auto Supplies Ltd. (ask for Dave Allen).
• • •
Goalie Heather Ash of Fort Frances will suit up for the University of Wisconsin-Superior Yellow Jackets this fall. Ash is a former member of the Thunder Bay Queens Midget girls’ hockey team.
Melissa Gonzales, another Fort native, is set to join the team in the second semester.
• • •
Dave Egan’s ‘AA’ Taggs Bantam travelling hockey squad will put the finishing touches on their final roster cuts after an exhibition game against Dryden this Saturday.
Game time is 4 p.m. at the Sportsplex and everyone is welcome to catch a preview of this year’s team.

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