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Lions claw their way to championship win

The U12 Championship game will be one to remember

It was a snowy night as the defending champions the Moose Jaw Lions took on the Moose Jaw Spartans for the U12 Kinsmen Moose Jaw Minor Football League’s championship on Saturday evening, October 28.

The cooler temperatures, snow covered field and snow falling throughout the game is something not soon to be forgotten by those at Elks Athletic Field.

But nobody seemed to be complaining because this is what Canadian football is suppose to be all about.

The game was a low scoring affair in not only the First Quarter but also the entirety of the Half.

The First Quarter score was Lions 8 and Spartans 6.

The Second Quarter score was Lions 8 and Spartans 6.

With the Lions up after the Third Quarter, the Spartans regained the momentum as their quarterback Beau Nimegeers was under pressure and was seemingly tackled and somehow broke free down the right sideline for a touchdown.

The play made for the highlight reels and put the Spartans back in contention.

But the momentum was broken up almost immediately as the Lions responded with a massive touchdown run by Bekkem Usher.

The Final Score was Lions 30 and Spartans 19.

“It was an amazing win,” Moose Jaw Lions head coach Kellyn Bollinger said in the post game interview.

“It was a great night. A great team. They fought hard all year and they deserve this. They definitely earned it,” Bollinger said.

Bollinger said he thought that playing in the cold snowy weather wasn’t too bad.

“Actually it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. There were some challenges for sure. It’s different out here but it was fun,” he said.

Despite the colder and snowy weather, Bollinger had an eccentric attitude towards it.

“It’s snowing right now but it’s kind of picturesque,” he said.

About the snow covered field, Bollinger said the U12 championship had the best go of the field conditions.

“I think it did have (a positive effect),” he said about being the final game played on the weekend. 

Three games prior had packed down large areas of snow cover.

“I think we got the best (field) conditions of the bunch today with like you said being packed down. It’s still a factor out here but yeah it was fun.”

Asked about the massive run by the Spartans quarterback Beau Nimegeers after seemingly being tackled more than once, he said he could not say how she broke so many tackles.

“Neither do I (know how she did it.) She’s amazing. But she did it.”

The immediate response with an immediate response by the Bekkem Usher was key, he said.

“Bekkem he answered quickly on that one. I think he didn’t allow them to build anything off of it. Which is huge. That was a big play by Beau (Nimegeers) on that run.” 

The reaction on the Lions bench to the Nimegeers touch run, Bollinger said, “there was a little bit of frustration but she did a hell of a job getting out of all of those tackles.”

Regarding next year and the chances of retaining Lions players in the minor football program for next season Bollinger said it looked very positive.

“It is about a 50/50 split. Half of them are moving up and half of them are staying back and hopefully be back for next year,” he said.

Wondering if the Lions would be able to retain players within the Kinsmen Moose Jaw Minor Football, Bollinger said, “I hope so. I think this experience is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

“And like I said, they earned it. So I really hope that they are back (next year).” 

Despite the poor weather being uncomfortable at times he said it is because of the weather conditions it’s unlikely they’ll forget playing in the game.

“Yes, yes I think this (the snow) will make it quite memorable. They’ll never forget this game,” Bollinger said.

For Moose Jaw Spartans head coach Brock Montgomery, despite the weather conditions it was a well fought battle on the field.

“It was exciting. It was a good game. It was a pretty fun time for the kids. They enjoyed it. It was a good battle. We just didn’t move the ball well on offence in the second half,” Montgomery said.

“We had a couple of opportunities and just couldn’t put the ball on the ground. Then defensively we had some breakdowns and gave up some long runs. But I’m proud of the kids they played great,” he said.

Addressing the weather conditions and its effect on the Spartans, Montgomery said both teams faced the same weather conditions.

“It was a little snowy. It’s tough when it’s like this for both teams. You know it’s equal for both teams. And they just managed to handle things a little better than we did tonight and that was the difference,” he said.

“In the end it was four scores to three and those extra points, they kicked the two point conversions, kind of created the distance.”

Regarding the Spartans’ quarterback breaking so many tackles and running a massive touchdown run, Montgomery said it was normal.

“That’s just Beau. She’s amazing. She is one of the funnest kids I’ve had on a team. She is very, very serious about what she does and it shows. She was actually our MVP (Most Valuable Player) for the league and I think she deserved to be.”

Montgomery said it was tough responding to the Lions - Usher touchdown run.  

“We were on a bit of a momentum swing there but unfortunately they have a real weapon there in Bekkem Usher over on that team,” he said, adding “he made us pay for it. We contained him pretty well all game. That was our game plan to stop him, but of course unfortunately he gets loose at that time. It is what it is.”

Montgomery said he was looking forward to next season.

“We have a whole bunch of kids who are ten years old that will be coming back. We have some kids that are ten (years old) who played some really key roles in this game tonight. So I will be excited to have them back.”

In U12 the ten year old players are the rookies of the division.

“And finally my son will be on the team next year making things even better.”

About the graduated players Montgomery said they’ll be back in the ranks of U14 rookies.

“Oh they’ll be back, there are some really good football players there. I take pride in it and as a coach that is my whole thing to develop these kids. Make them love the game and continue to play,” he said.

“I don’t think there won’t be one kid on this team that doesn’t sign up for next year. That’s the goal.”

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