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Football Muskies eyeing second-place finish

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Even a day filled with miserable field conditions could not stop the roll the Muskie football team is currently on.

The Muskies scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter en route to blanking the Neelin Spartans 20-0 for their fourth straight win in Winnipeg High School Football League action last Thursday at Nomads Field in Winnipeg.

“First of all, the field was really soggy from all the weather they had, so it was like playing on a swamp,” noted Muskie co-coach Vic Davis, whose squad improved to 4-1 in the six-team Currie Division ('A').

"It's where the geese hang out all the time and it was just covered and it was just terrible. Yeah, it was a swampy, windy, cold game played on a goose [expletive] laden field, basically.

“So it was pretty tough to get going because of the field, you couldn't get any traction,” he conceded.

Neither team had much going early on in Thursday's game, with both being held off the scoreboard in the first quarter.

But receiver Carson Noga finally gave the Muskies some life as he ran in a 55-yard punt return touchdown to open the scoring just before halftime.

The Muskies opted to run a two-point conversion play instead of kicking the extra-point, but were thwarted by the Spartans' (0-5) defence on the half-yard line to leave it at 6-0.

“It was a tough battle,” Davis admitted.

“The team we were playing, Neelin, they haven't won yet but I don't think they're a bad team. I think the kids had to realize that they can't just go in thinking that they're gonna beat them and I think it was kind of tough at the beginning because the field conditions kind of evened things out,” he recalled.

“We couldn't get traction, and neither could they, and the defence played good, they got a shutout.”

Muskie running back Sean Huziak and quarterback Brady Meeks both scored rushing majors in the third quarter to round out the scoring.

Huziak was also golden on kicking home both extra-point attempts.

The Muskies took a knee on the Spartans' 5-yard line late in the fourth to run out the clock and seal their fourth win of the year.

Meeks had a quiet passing game, going just 4 of 8 for 45 yards while also throwing two interceptions that were caused because of the poor weather and field conditions.

But he was better on the ground, racking up 98 yards on nine carries along with a score. Huziak rambled for 164 yards on 17 carries and the lone TD.

“We were able to get together a few good drives. We had a couple of unfortunate interceptions,” said Davis.

“One just bounced off our player's head, straight in the air, and it got picked off and the other was just thrown under, so they weren't bad interceptions but I think just the result of the conditions.”

On defence, Aaron Scheibler led the way with eight tackles while Huziak and Dale Berg both had six.

Eli Vandermeer had three tackles and recorded a sack while Kaleb Woods also had a tackle and a sack.

“The defence is really good, they get penetration into their back field like all the time,” Davis enthused.

"It might not show in sacks. I know Kaleb Woods said he was in the back field the whole game but by the time he got there, everyone was gone. But he did enough to just disrupt their plays, they couldn't really get anything going on.

“We were prepared for them," he added of the Spartans. "They [the defence] knew what they were gonna do, they just basically shut 'em down. They tackled well, there was just one point where they had a bunch of terrible penalties. We had like two offsides, an unnecessary roughness, and we kept giving them chances but we were good enough to smarten up and shut 'em down.”

The Muskies were slated to conclude the regular season on the road this afternoon against the Maples Marauders (3-1), with the outcome not know as of press time.

It's a big game as second place in the Currie Division is on the line, with the team that finishes second securing a bye to the WHSFL playoff semifinals.

The game originally was slated for Oct. 10 but was rescheduled due to safety concerns from a snowstorm that slammed southern Manitoba.

“They've been playing well and they're gonna have to play well because it's gonna get harder from here on in,” Davis warned his team.

"This Maples team, I think we beat them pretty solidly last year, but I think they're a year older and they're just a little bit better this year, so it's going to be a tough matchup for us.

“This is a big game. If we win, we get a bye but if we lose, we're gonna have to play next week and I think the kids want to get a bye,” he noted.

“But it's gonna be a short week," Davis conceded. ”They got a very poor turnout [to practice] on Friday, we had to practice on Friday because we play Wednesday.

“Monday's a P.D. Day, so hopefully kids will show up because if we don't have a good practice Monday, it just leaves Tuesday and that's the day before our game,” he continued.

“So if we go in there unprepared, they could be in for a rude awakening. So I mean, we can only do so much. If we don't get enough bodies out there or prepare properly, we could be walking into an ambush here." Davis warned. "So, we shall see.”

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