As the Muskies head over for Friday night’s exhibition contest against the International Falls Broncos, there’s no question the black-and-gold will have to be dominant on defence if they hope to win.
In running rampant over the St. Paul’s Crusaders here last Saturday, crushing the Winnipeg squad 53-30, there’s no question the Muskies can put points on the board.
The problem may be in stopping their opponents from doing the same.
“We know they’re going to be a well-disciplined team so we’re going to have to play a little tighter,” defensive co-ordinator Brent DeBenedet observed.
In fact, the Muskies are going to have to play a lot tighter than they did in the opener here against St. Paul’s, during which they were guilty of numerous blown coverages and missed tackles. It was a far cry from the defence which dominated NorWOSSA opponents for the past two seasons.
Then again, with just four returning players, this also is a much different defence than last year. And like all defensive units, DeBenedet said this one will need time to jell.
“To have a chance to win [against the Falls], we’re going to have to play well disciplined and error-free,” he stressed. “Last year, they controlled the line of scrimmage and when you do that, you control the game.”
The Broncos beat the Muskies 28-7 last year (although the game was much closer than the score would indicate) by using a strong running game that bullied the black-and-gold’s defensive line. DeBenedet said they will have to do a much better job stopping the run this year.
They also may have to handle the exploits of the Broncos’ new quarterback Jon Caul, who transferred from Fort High at the start of this school year.
Caul, who has both U.S. and Canadian citizenship, was the starting pivot during the Muskies’ past two NorWOSSA championship seasons, and DeBenedet said they will have their hands full trying to contain him.
“We’ll have to contain their run and we’ll have to contain Caul,” he stressed. “He can run and he’s fast.”
“We expect them to do the same. They are going to cram the ball in between the tackles and hope to spring one,” agreed Swing. “And on defence, they’re going to pin their ears down and come after us.
“Their system won’t change as ours hasn’t, either,” he added. “We pretty much know each other; one team is either going to be able to execute or be stopped.
“The game will be won in the trenches.”
And Swing also said it doesn’t matter who the other starting quarterback is. It is the Bronco offence they must stop—not Caul.
Game time Friday is 7 p.m.