The next high school football game in Moose Jaw is this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Gutheridge Field between the Central Cyclones and the Weyburn Eagles.
Led by Josh Johnson’s three touchdowns, the Peacock Tornadoes defeated the Vanier Vikings 30-8 in the spotlight Thursday night.
The game saw a strong Viking defensive team manage to keep the Tornadoes to a single touchdown lead throughout the first half and into the end of the third quarter. But it was in the fourth quarter that the Peacock team put the game aside.
Johnson would rush the ball 13 times for a total of 117 yards while Tornadoes teammate Owen Varjassy rushed the ball 18 times for 123 yards.
Despite the loss, the Vikings were able to register their first points on the board in three games in the 2022 South 5A 12-Man Football League season.
The Tornadoes would carry the ball 32 times for 229 rushing yards. Tornadoes quarterback Keaton Doerksen completed six of 13 pass attempts for a net gain of 88 yards.
The Vikings offense responded with 46 yards on 29 carries. In the passing department, the Vikings managed to gain 14 yards with two completions on eight attempts.
Scoring on the night would see Johnson from the Peacock with three touchdowns. Followed by Owen Varjassy with a touchdown. Razak Borufu Mugarwa completed all four conversion attempts.
The Peacock defense scored two runs when Vanier decided to concede the two by taking a knee instead of trying to get the ball out of the end zone.
The Vikings had just one touchdown in the fourth quarter when Vanier quarterback Tayden Hardwicke fired his own number and sent the ball into the end zone. A two-point conversion was successful with Hudson Tallon notching both points.
Defensively, the Vikings shone. The Vikings’ D allowed just one touchdown in the first half.
The Tornadoes would make a field goal attempt in the second quarter only to be blocked by the Vikings. The same would happen to a punt attempt by the Tornadoes – a successful block and recovery by the Vikings.
Defensively, the Tornadoes were able to stop the Vikings’ run game.
Vikings star player Joe Marak (who had 41 rushing yards on 11 carries on Saturday against the Swift Current Colts) carried the ball just three times for a three-yard negative as the Tornadoes defense slumped. was sinking quickly into Vanier’s backfield.
Coaches’ post-match comments
Peacock Tornadoes head coach Bert Redstone was very pleased with his team’s efforts despite the Vikings’ strong defensive play, especially in the first half.
“I’m happy. We expected Vanier to come and play and they did. Thanks to Ryan Gottselig (Vanier Vikings head coach) for grooming these guys. They have a strong D-line and very good linebackers. Just good defense overall,” Redstone told MJ Independent in his postgame comments.
Asked about the Vikings’ defensive outing in the first half, he replied that it was not what the Tornadoes expected.
“We were expecting a 40 and they threw a 50 at us and it took us a little while to adjust and then you know you gotta line up your Xs and Os and once we did that kids somehow understood. and played louder.
Asked about the Vikings managing to block a field goal and a punt, Redstone said the Vikings caught his team beating them on the jump.
“Our guys were hot on their heels there. And you can’t play football on your heels. You can’t sit still. You have to make a decision and do this thing as fast as possible.
Regarding the good efforts of his teams, he pointed out that the offensive line was slow at the start, but as the game progressed they gelled.
“The O (offensive) line is coming together. You know, we’ve had some injuries the last few days, but there’s no excuse, the guys just have to step in and get the job done. I think once they get up to speed, especially with a team like Vanier, they’re going to come full speed ahead. So once they figured that out, the guys kind of had confidence and were able to do what they can do,” he said.
Asked about the first three quarters and how Vanier’s defense seemed to contain the Peacock’s offense, Redstone said it was a no-jump case.
“You can’t lie on your heels in football. You have to go full speed ahead.”
He said box scores don’t mean anything in football because being scoreless for two games actually inspired the Vikings and the Tornadoes to deal with that.
“It’s about a team. They think ‘we have to improve’. We have to show up” and of course they did. Credit to Ryan Gottselig for getting these guys to play,” he said, adding “we told our kids otherwise. “You have to expect them to come out and play. You can’t look at box scores and walk in and think you’re going to get through these guys. I think part of that arrival has made our guys feel comfortable playing.
The Tornadoes are now entering a bye week in the South 5A 12-Man Football League, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take it easy.
“We are going to take the next two weeks to polish some things and prepare for our next opponent. There’s no big rush, we have a nine and ten jamboree with our guys and just enjoying the time to practice,” Redstone said.
The Peacock team this year is a younger team with only seven senior (12th grade) players, something he says makes a difference and is part of the sport of high school football.
“We don’t have a lot (of seniors on the team). I think we’re down to seven right now so it’s a small group of seniors, but a big character group. You know great leadership from them and yes it’s tough… it’s a game where sometimes you have 14 year olds against 18 year olds and of course those 18 year olds will have an advantage. These top heavyweight teams that have large Grade 12 classes are doing very well.
With the win, the Peacock Tornadoes move to a 2-1 record.
Vanier Vikings head coach Ryan Gottselig said that despite the loss, his team played better and they managed to get the monkey off their necks by putting their first points of the season on the scoreboard.
“Throughout the match, our defense played very well. They had a huge O (offensive) line, two big power running backs and a QB who can throw the ball and we hung on to them for three full quarters. It was a great effort from our defense,” Gottselig said.
Asked about the extra effort the defense put in to deal with Peacock’s kicking game, he said it was a great effort.
“The kids tried really hard. They blocked a basket from the field. They blocked a punt. They made great plays in the passing game knocking down balls. Such a great effort from our children. They are a very good team… we (as coaches) are very happy with them,” he said.
About finally putting their first points of the season on the scoreboard – after failing to score points in their first two games – he said it was a relief to get rid of the goose egg .
“It was definitely a monkey on its back trying to get into the end zone. Hopefully that breaks the ceiling and we start scoring now,” he said.
Asked about the two-point conversion play, he said he was happy and it was one of those plays the Vikings clicked on.
“We made a few plays and we haven’t made any plays in the last two weeks and we’re going to go all out. We are improving every week and that is what we are working towards.
Vanier’s next game is September 23 against a strong and so far undefeated Central Cyclone team and Gottselig said they are looking forward to it.
“Yeah, that will be fun. It’s always great to play against Moose Jaw teams. You know they are well trained and we will line up and do our best to try and improve every week.
When asked if he thought the Tornadoes considered the Vikings to be the underdogs for Thursday night’s game or if the Peacock team came in strong in the game.
“No, I think our kids played hard and they competed and played very well. We can play very well against the teams we’ve played with.
Age makes a difference, but the Vikings are trying their best to improve every day, he said.
“We are (a) very young (team). We only have three grade 12 students on our team. We are very young. Again, it will take some time for our kids to reach their peak, but we are improving as I said every day and every week and we will continue to improve,” Gottselig said.
With the loss, the Vanier Vikings move to a 0 – 3 record.
The next match for the local teams in the South 5A 12-Man Football League is this Saturday afternoon at 1pm at Gutheridge Field when the Central Cyclones 2 – 0 take on last season’s powerhouse Weyburn Eagles.
Central Cyclones vs Weyburn Eagles Saturday, September 17 1 p.m. start at Gutheridge Field – 650 Coteau Street West.
The original MJ Independent story can be found here.