Skip to content

Vanier loses season opener to nine-man powerhouse Lumsden

Defending Conference 2 champion Devils score on first three possessions, go on to 41-21 win in Friday Night Lights game at Elk’s Field

Heading into their first-ever Conference 2 Nine Man Football League regular season game on Friday night at Elk’s Field, the Vanier Vikings had little idea of what they would face from the powerhouse Lumsden Lions.

Such is the case when you’re an expansion team and seeing every one of your opponents for the first time.

And now they know.

The defending Conference champion Lions scored on their first three possessions and would go on to a 41-21 victory in front of close to 1,000 fans on a beautiful late summer evening.

“It’s a little disappointing with the start we had, there were a couple of huge breakdowns and mistakes that cost us scores on their side,” said Vikings head coach Ryan Gottselig. “But we challenged the kids at half to come out and play a better brand of football and they stepped up and did pretty well. Lumsden is solid, though, we have to work to get to that level.”

It didn’t take long for Vanier to figure out that they were going to be in for a tough game -- just seeing Lumsden during warm-ups and their size was enough to raise a few eyebrows.

“They’re big up front, and their big guys can move,” Gottselig said. “They have tight ends running down the field catching deep balls, just big athletic kids. They’re strong, they’re big and fast, and we just have to work to get there.”

Lumsden built a 27-0 lead at half with a mixture of big runs and a passing attack that made liberal use of the aforementioned tight ends getting downfield.

“That’s one thing about moving to nine-man, we’re moving around a lot on coverages trying to figure things out still,” Gottselig said. “A big one for us is that we’re not used to the offensive tackles and tight ends releasing so often, so we’ll work on that, we have to get our linebackers picking that up… We had breakdowns, but we’ll fix them.”

Vanier’s Gabe Yasinski had the honour of scoring the Vikings’ first-ever nine-man touchdown, hauling in a short pass from quarterback Grayson Hrenyk early in the fourth quarter.

The most important part of it all is the step out of the unknown -- now that Vanier has faced what could be the best team they’ll see all season, it’s a matter of continuing to work and refine their game to deal with what nine-man teams have to offer.

“That’s kind of our message to the kids, let’s see where we fall with these guys and now we have to rise to the challenge,” Gottselig said. “Each week is going to be challenging, but if we put the work in we definitely can compete.”

Other results on opening weekend saw Shaunavon take a 59-0 win over Gull Lake and Notre Dame defeat Maple Creek 44-14.

Vanier is back in action Friday when they travel to Gull Lake. Next home action is Friday, Sept. 29 when they host Maple Creek, with game time 6 p.m. at Elk’s Field.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks