What a difference a year makes.
Last year, the Muskie ‘B’ football team struggled to keep their games against American opponents from turning into blowouts. To them, scoring a touchdown was a moral victory.
But this year, under a new football program which created a Muskie ‘C’ team, head coach Rob Tysz’s squad can see the light—battling to a 6-6 tie in Cook on Monday afternoon to open the season.
Playing in a steady rain which made moving the football difficult, the ‘C’ team found themselves trailing 6-0 in a defensive struggle.
But with the Muskies knocking on Cook’s doorstep at the 15-yard line, quarterback Andrew George ran a nifty bootleg play into the end zone for the team’s first touchdown of the young season.
The play, sprung by an outstanding block by receiver Shaun Egan, was one of several which had Tysz smiling after the game.
“It was the first game a lot of these guys have played and we’re really pleased with the job they did,” said Tysz, whose “Bee” team went winless last season.
The Muskie offence, which struggled at times Monday due to the wet weather, did have some success through the air led by George. But their strength definitely was in their running game bolstered by the tandem of tailback Chris Faragher and fullback Chuck Maki.
Both did an admirable job running the football, said Tysz, adding the sweep was their strongest running play of the afternoon.
“We tried to throw the ball but it was difficult,” he noted. “But they did a pretty good job.”
The defence also played well, limiting Cook to just the one touchdown. In fact, Tysz said he was very impressed with his unit, which came up with several big plays, including an interception by Adam Foley.
“Our defence came up really strong,” he enthused, adding they used a 4-4-stack defence which placed an emphasis on stopping the run.
And stop the run they did. Led by linebackers Tyson Dennis and Bryan Chambers, the Muskie defence did a fine job plugging the holes and limiting the yardage gained by Cook ball carriers.
“With our defence, players have a responsibility to close the gap and we were very effective,” stressed Tysz. “They did a real good job.”
The ‘C’ team is using the next week of practice to “fine tune” its game on both sides of the ball in preparation for a showdown against Baudette next Tuesday at Westfort at 4:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Muskie ‘B’ team had its game Monday afternoon in Baudette postponed due to wet grounds. It is to be rescheduled later this month.
The close out the month with a game Sept. 30 against the host International Falls Broncos.