Miles Mac running back Juan Ayala looks for yards.
It was another exciting week in the Winnipeg High School Football League, as the playoff picture became a bit clearer. Below is a breakdown of last weekends varsity action.
Steinbach (4-1) 20 -- 14 Vincent Massey Collegiate (3-2)
The Steinbach Sabres, celebrating one decade in the WHSFL this season, made a statement this past Thursday, defeating the defending Division 1 champion Vincent Massey Trojans 20-14 for the program's first-ever victory over a power two school. The victory also sets up a clash for top spot in the division this Friday on the road against Dakota.
Below is the scoring summary:
1st quarter - ends in 0-0 tie and featured two turnovers each.
2nd Quarter- Steinbach 7-0 Sawyer Thiessen 22 yard pass to Jayden Martens, convert by Rylan Penner
Steinbach 14-0 Isaac Dokken scores a 1 yard TD run, Convert by Rylan Penner.
3rd Quarter - No scoring
4th Quarter - Steinbach 14 - VMC 6 : WMC scores a TD on a 1 yard QB sneak by Hanslip on the first play of the quarter. Kick is no good.
Steinbach 20 - VMC 6 : Issac Dokken scores on a 10 yard run. Kick is no good.
Steinbach 20 - VMC 14: with 6 seconds left, Payton Lake 13 yard pass to Kaiden Bannon, 2 point conversion is good, (Payton lake 5 yard pass to Kaiden Bannon).
The offence for Steinbach was led by Manitoba Bisons commit Isaac Dokken who carried the ball 15 times for 120 yards and two scores. Sawyer Thiessen added 13 carries for 66 yards and completed 6-of-9 passes for 60 yards with one touchdown and one interception on an incredibly wet day. Fellow Bisons commit and the league's leading receiver Jayden Martens had three catches and a touchdown.
The defence forced four turnovers, with the catalyst being Isaac Dokken -- another Bisons commit and two-time Team Canada selection -- who tallied six solo tackles, three assisted, and one sack. Impact transfer Payton Falk added the exact same stat line. Tyson Bennett also had four tackles, one sack, and an interception while Thomas Peters had four tackles and a sack.
Massey got a strong game from speedy junior running back Negus Lewin, who continued his 100-yard per game average while Jason Rushatsi had seven tackles and a forced fumble.
"The team was challenged at the beginning of the week to be ready to play a very physical game against an excellent opponent. Our players responded by playing their most physical game of the year and working very hard for all four quarters," said Sabres head coach Stephen Fedus.
"A very good team win against an excellent opponent."
St. Paul's (4-1) 41 -- 20 Sturgeon Heights (1-4)
Playing in a strong wind, St. Paul’s used an aggressive first half defence to limit Sturgeon’s offence. Some excellent punting kept Sturgeon deep in its own zone for much of the first half.
With the help of a few turnovers created by the defence St. Paul’s was able to build a large first half lead. Sturgeon’s run game kicked into gear in the second half to help Sturgeon close the gap.
Notable stats for the Crusaders included Te Jessie's 161-yard and three touchdown passing game with just one incompletion, while St. Paul's' talented linebacking corps that includes Nathan Carabatsakis, Kundanji Sinkala and Nic Pereira combined for 15 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. High-level junior prospect Trae Tomlinson also had an interception.
River East (3-2) 37 -- 12 Murdoch MacKay (1-4)
In a battle of two River East-Transcona School Division teams making the jump to Division 1, it was the Kodiaks who came out on top. The second half was when the contest began to break open, with River East outscoring Murdoch 17-0.
Kodiaks head coach Robin Meade credited his team for being able to outlast their opponent, as both squads battled injuries.
Division 1 Most Outstanding Player candidate Carter Kutzan had over 200 all-purpose yards in the Murdoch loss.
Grant Park (2-3) 17 -- 16 Sisler (1-4)
The Pirates and Spartans served up another all-time classic between the two schools, with the game coming down to the dying seconds on seniors night at Grant Park.
The Pirates dug a deep hole early, going down 13-0 on two interceptions returned for touchdowns, one from Steven Koniuck and one from Braydn Wityshyn. The duo have now combined for five picks this season.
Jackson Mclean was a huge factor in the game for Grant Park with big punt and kick returns, but the hosts couldn't capitalize . Sisler stymied the Pirates' classic hard-nosed run game and the team was ineffective passing for the most part.
Toni Shulman managed to get Grant Park back in the game with an interception returned for a touchdown himself to bring the score to 13-7 and then Matheus Ruffini hit a 38-yard field goal to make the score 13-10 at the half. Ruffini's single in the second half was all the Pirates could muster until they got the ball back at their own 33 with three minutes left, going on a six play, 70 yard drive highlighted by a Paulo Imbrogno throw to Francesco Foderaro and capped with an Allesandro Imbrogno touchdown with 42 seconds left.
"I felt like our kids never stopped fighting and showed tremendous poise despite the setbacks," Pirates head coach Doug Kovacs said. "I credit the coaching staff for preparing them for the last three minute situation and them executing it to win the game."
Kelvin (2-3) 21 -- 14 Massey Brandon (1-4)
It was a hard fought defensive battle between the two programs. Kelvin trailed 14-4 at half but battled back for a 21-14 win. Daniel Moroz was 22-for-35 for 316 yards with two touchdowns, and interception and a two points convert. Adam Fast also had 10 catches, 179 yards, two touchdowns and a two point convert.
Kelvin's defence was led by Maric Param and his eight tackles, four sacks and three fumble recoveries.
"The offence started slow then picked up speed as the game went on," said Clippers head coach Jon Romu. "The defence played great."
Dakota (5-0) 7 -- 3 Oak Park (2-3)
The nationally ranked Lancers and first-year head coach Mitch Harrison continued their undefeated roll this week with a second consecutive win in a defensive slugfest. The Lancers continue to be one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the WHSFL's varsity ranks, the others being Division 2's Portage Trojans and Division 3's Springfield Sabres.
Defensive tackle Ethan Papineau headlined the impressive defensive effort with 11 tackles and half a sack.
Portage (5-0) 65 -- 13 Crocus Plains (2-3)
The Trojans continued their roll in 2019 and have now outscored their opponents 233-41. No stats were available by press time.
Elmwood (4-1) 57 -- 0 DMCI (0-5)
The Giants got touchdowns from five different players, including an incredible rushing touchdown from Aron Kisimba. This week's clash against Portage will be for sole possession for first in the Bramwell Conference.
Miles Mac (4-1) 44 -- 2 Garden City (3-2)
In a showdown of two of the top teams in the pre-season coaches poll, it was the Buckeyes who came out with a statement victory and continue to control their own destiny as the top seed in the Vidruk conference.
Quarterback Matt Graham threw for 238 yards and four scores, while Miciah Stone had 177 yards receiving and three scores. Running back Juan Ayala also rushed for 91 yards on 11 carries and had a touchdown.
Garden City got a strong game from Ryan Bruneau but couldn't contain an athletic and physical Buckeyes linebacking corps led by Evan Rollwagen and Zachary Chiarotto.
"Miciah's game today was an encapsulation of the entire team; he's put in the work, he's studied the film, he's pushed himself in practice and, when it came to game time, he executed," Buckeyes head coach Dan Washnuk said.
"Most importantly, he didn't have to do it alone. That's been the kids at Miles Mac this year. They work, they study, they push, they execute, and they never do it alone."
Dryden (3-2) 15 -- 6 St. John's (2-3)
The evenly matched Tigers and Eagles faced off Friday at Nomads Field. While both teams threatened early, turnovers by both groups kept the score low. Midway through the second quarter, a defensive stand by the Eagles deep in Tiger territory led the home team to surrender a safety and the 2-0 halftime score. The game opened up a bit after the break and Dryden’s Troy Kirouac added a touchdown before a St. Johns fieled goal made it 9-3.
The Eagles would add a second touchdown in the fourth quarter before electing to concede a safety of their own with just over a minute to play.
Dryden’s defense was the key to the 16-5 victory as they created four turnovers and set the offence up with consistently good field position while holding Rookie of the Year candidate Joshua Farber to just 22 yards.
“While we would like to execute more precisely than we did, our group is learning to battle for 48 minutes and overcome adversity," Eagles head coach Geoff Zilkalns said.
"We now feel we can compete at this level and are putting the work in to improve every time out.”
St. Norbert (2-3) 29 -- 21 West Kildonan (1-4)
Noah Cornborough was the standout in this one with a 60-yard touchdown reception as well as five tackles and a sack on defence.
Kildonan East (4-1) 30 -- 0 Beaver Brae(0-5)
The Reivers have been on a mission this year, motivated after being ranked 12th out of 12 teams in the first annual-coaches poll. They continued their roll this past Thursday against the Broncos in the WHSFL Game of the Week.
Kildonan East got another standout performance from fellow Rookie of the Year candidate Mataeo Mohamed, a converted defensive end who threw for 182 yards and four scores. The Broncos fought hard, but were in a losing battle after their starter and backup quarterback were both injured during the contest.
Offensive lineman Kayla Landry also became the first female to start a game for the team, doing so at centre. It certainly helped that she was flanked by 280-pound David Wheeler and 270-pound Daryl 'Red' Bradley.
Fort Frances (3-1) 32 -- 0 Tec Voc (1-4)
Player of the Year contender Brady Meeks continued his roll this past week with 206 yards passing and 90 yards rushing for Fort Frances, along with three total scores as he pushes to break the single-season touchdown record in the division.
Churchill (1-2) 41 -- 33 Neelin (0-4)
No information was available by press time.
Springfield (4-0) 30 -- 15 Maples (2-1)
The Sabres continued their undefeated roll in their inaugural WHSFL season, getting 230 yards and two scores from standout running back Wesly Kwan. Mason Jesmer responded with 149 yards and a score for Maples.