Just when you think you have a bit of a feel for how things might shake out during the season, a game like the contest between the Peacock Toilers and Central Cyclones happens and everything gets thrown for a loop, once again.
And interestingly enough, the Swift Current Colts have a role in this shakedown.
The Toilers held the Cyclones to a total of 205 yards of offence and battled through Central’s own staunch defence to take an 8-6 victory in the annual Friday afternoon battle between the two rivals.
The Colts figure into things due to earlier results in Swift Current this season – Central had won 35-30 on opening weekend, while Peacock had dropped a 23-0 decision in a night game the following week. Common opponent, predictable result, right?
Not so fast.
“The loss to Swift Current, they have a really big and tough team where we have young team and it was a night game in Swift, the generators were on and the lights were there, it was a completely different experience,” said Tornadoes head coach Bert Redstone. “So the kids were really stunned by it all and it felt like it the whole time.
“So this week, we said ‘hey listen, you guys have put yourself in a position where this is basically a must win’. And they responded. The kids understood they needed to learn some football, we have some young guys, Grade 9s and Grade 10s playing in important spots on this team, and the pressure from the older guys after feeling what a loss is like made them want it a bit more. It needs to build from here going forward.”
Things got off to a fairly quick start, as Peacock quarterback Kyle Yamniuk hit Drake Luebke with a 60-yard pass-and-run for a touchdown before the contest was three minutes old. A quick convert later and it was 7-0.
Where the score would stay until the fourth quarter.
“It was just being tough up front and not letting anyone get outside, that’s what killed us against Swift Current,” said Tornadoes defensive back Jude Tysdal-Fall, who added an interception to what would be two crucial singles in his secondary role as the team’s kicker.
“We did a really good job of that today… that was how we lost the last game so that was our first priority for this game. It was good, they didn’t get much, they only scored six points so we’re happy with that.
“We were focussed and did our jobs, we worked hard in practice and it showed this week.”
All told, Central had 24 carries for 127 yards – with Ryan Vincent finishing with 19 carries for 127 -- and 15 passes for 78 yards, as Mathew Dyck led the way with three catches for 34 yards.
Tysdal-Fall would add a single on a missed field goal early in the fourth quarter to build the lead to 8-0, with that single point making all the difference.
Central found themselves with poor field position much of the game, but in the contest’s final three minutes were able to put a drive together, ending with Vincent scoring from three yards out to make the score 8-6 with 1:08 on the clock.
Down a pair, the Cyclones tried a two point convert, but quarterback Wil Ansell’s run would come up short.
Interestingly enough, Central was able to hold Peacock to what looked like a two-and-out with 48 seconds left on the clock, but a surprise direct snap to running back Kayde Shymko led to a two-yard gain and victory formation.
“It was intense, especially since it was our rival team,” Tysdal-Fall said. “It was a fun game.”
Yamniuk led the Tornadoes offence with 15 carries for 94 yards, while Shymko racked up 68 yards on 13 carries. Luebke finished the contest with three catches for 98 yards.
Yamniuk finished the game 3-for-9 passing for 96 yards and an interception, while Central’s Wil Ansell was 6-for-15 for 78 yards and a pick.
Cyclones head coach Colin Belsher was impressed with what he saw from the Tornadoes while aiming for a different result down the road.
“I knew Peacock was going to come out full force and I knew they were going to give us a great game,” he said. “It’s part of being young, that’s what I just said to the kids, they’re going to make mistakes and we had a lot of those today, but you can’t take credit away from Peacock. They outplayed us today, they played harder that we did and they got those yards when we needed them and unfortunately we didn’t and that was the difference in the football game.
“Hopefully these kids have learned what it’s like to be in a tight game like that, we’re able to move forward and we have three good games the rest of the season.”
League action continues Saturday, Sept. 28 when the Yorkton Raiders make their first appearance in Moose Jaw against the Tornadoes at 1 p.m. The Estevan Elecs take on the Vanier Vikings in the afternoon game at 3:15 p.m. Due to construction on the track at Gutheridge Field, the contests may be played at Elk’s Field, be sure to check back for more information closer to the weekend.