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Weyburn overcomes solid start by Vanier to remain undefeated

Eagles score 28 second-quarter points on way to 45-0 victory over Vikings at Gutheridge Field
For the first 12 minutes of their South 3A 12-Man Football League contest with the Weyburn Eagles, the Vanier Vikings looked like world-beaters.

Despite taking the field with their undermanned and youth-laden crew, the Vikings were able to stick right with the unbeaten Eagles, holding them off the scoreboard while trying to get their offence in motion.

Unfortunately for the local crew, Weyburn is in first place for a reason, and once they found a break or two, it was going to be tough for Vanier to keep up.

The Eagles would go on to score 28 second-quarter points after a scoreless start to the game and take a 45-0 victory on Saturday afternoon at Gutheridge Field.

“I told the kids after the game that I’m super proud of them,” said Vanier head coach Ryan Gottselig. “We’ve shown stretches in each game where we can line-up and compete, but it’s a little lapse here and there and they’re a good team, they’ve shown they’re going to take advantage of that. One coverage breakdown led to their first touchdown and there were times it kind if spiralled on us. But our effort is great and we couldn’t be happier with that.”

Weyburn quarterback Ben Manning scored the game’s first major 30 seconds into the second quarter and the Eagles continued to move after that -- Isaiah Sanderson caught a 12-yard pass at 5:34, Ben Michel ran in from six yards out two minutes later and Conner Kerr capped first-half scoring with 1:11 to play with a 28-yard pass-and-run TD.

Kaleb Berg scored on a 22-yard run 2:43 after the break for the lone major of the third quarter; Kerr added a field goal and Spencer Bell a 20-yard run in the fourth to close out scoring.

It’s been as positive a showing as can be for Weyburn through the first half of the season, as they improved to 4-0 on the campaign to sit alone in first place.

“Our boys are performing very well, we have a great mix of Grade 9 and 10 starters that are mixing in with our Grade 12s, which is just great,” said Weyburn head coach Jason Kerr. “At the beginning we had high hopes for these guys because they’ve been playing minor football and having some success there, but we’re lacking some size. When we come up against the Peacocks and Centrals our lines are drastically different, but our guys are playing big and that makes a huge difference.”

The Eagles have picked up wins against both Yorkton (3-1) and Central (3-2) already this season, something that Kerr feels has helped stake their claim as a serious contender for the league championship.

“It’s been a while, when we beat Yorkton in that very first game of the season, I don’t know how long it’s been since we beat them and our boys celebrated like it was a playoff win, it was just amazing,” he said. “Then they won the next one and a great one against Central last week, and they’re believing in themselves now and I’m not sure they knew until those games happened.

"Whether it’s undefeated or not, it’s about realizing they have the potential to take it to the championship game in our league for sure. It’s nice and we’re going to run as far as we can with it this year.”

Vanier finished with 89 yards of total offence, with Natan Shiferaw carrying five times for 52 yards to lead the way. 

The contest brought an exceptionally busy stretch to an end for Vanier, as they capped off three games in eight days with a tie in Estevan and a narrow loss to Peacock prior to Saturday’s affair. 

“This stretch was crazy, and that’s what I told the kids, you have 25 guys playing three football games in a week and absolutely battling in all of them, which is awesome,” Gottselig said. “So we’ve earned our Thanksgiving and our rest with the bye next week”

Vanier is next in action on the final day of the regular season on Oct. 23 when they host Yorkton, Weyburn travels to Swift Current next Saturday.