They just weren't ready. That's the best way Muskie football team co-coach Vic Davis could put it.
The host Springfield Collegiate Sabres stormed out to commanding first-quarter lead and never looked back as they dumped the Muskies 29-7 on Friday evening in the Winnipeg High School Football League season-opener for both teams.
It was also the WHSFL's “Game of the Week.”
“It wasn't what we were looking for. I had higher hopes but obviously we weren't ready,” Davis said of Friday's loss on Sunday.
“We were better than we should have been but we have a ways to go. We have a lot of work to do, starting Monday again.”
The Sabres—playing in their inaugural game in the WHSFL—bursted out to a 22-0 lead in the first quarter to put the black-and-gold (0-1) on its heels early, utilizing an effective triple option on offence with a variety of misdirection plays that confused the Muskies.
Springfield (1-0) running back Wesley Kwan, as well as fellow back Josh Atamanchuk, were the primary beneficiaries of long gains all game long.
Kwan, who was named player-of-the-game for the Sabres, had eight carries for 105 yards in just a half of action while quarterback Tommy Walls went 8-of-11 for 94 yards and a score.
But the Muskies didn't go down without a fight, narrowing the gap to 22-7 with eight minutes to play in the first half thanks to a few big gains on screen plays from running back Sean Huziak.
“After the first quarter, if you took the first quarter away, it was like a tie game, so it was just a very bad start,” Davis noted.
"I think it just escalated from there. We couldn't compose ourselves and it just kind of went downhill.
“We held our own," he stressed. "But there was just a lot of stuff that we need to do that we just didn't have an answer for.”
Quarterback Brady Meeks was a workhorse for the Muskies in Friday's loss, making a ton of huge gains on naked bootleg plays. He also took an enormous amount of hits but kept on getting up and was the team's emotional leader all game long.
Meeks was named player-of-the-game for Fort High after the game.
Despite the Muskies being able to control possession as the fourth quarter rolled along, they were unable to narrow the Sabres' lead as the hosts recorded two key goal line stands to preserve the victory while also adding another major score to start the third.
“We were missing a lot of key players, for various reasons, and so they didn't get the practice in that we needed,” Davis conceded.
“If we get a good week of practice, hopefully we can bounce back from our performance on Friday.”
Fort High will resume action tomorrow when it heads to Winnipeg to play the Neelin Spartans (Brandon) at East Side Eagles Field at 4 p.m.
It will also be the WHSFL's “Game of the Week” and can also can be listened to live on MIKE FM.
Davis said that Muskies would be working on all areas of their game and would be trying hard to get up to speed with a short week ahead of them.
“We just have to have a good talk with our players on Monday about what happened and what they need to do and also even the coaches, what we need to do to make them understand a bit better what we're trying to do,” he stressed.
"We just gotta straighten some things up and figure things out and I think we'll be OK.
“It was a learning experience for a lot of [our] kids, like they've never played football before,” he added of the opening game loss to the Sabres.
“So that was kind of like an eye-opener for them. So now even next game they'll know what to expect.”
The Muskies' home-opener is slated for Friday, Sept. 27 when they welcome the Churchill Bulldogs at 3 p.m. at Fort High.
In other team news, the black-and-gold will be hosting their annual fundraising barbecue on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in front of Safeway here.
As well, members of the team will be going door-to-door during their “Blitz Nights” on Tuesday, Sept. 24 and Wednesday, Sept. 25 starting at 5:30 p.m. to sell Muskie discount cards.