Submitted by Byron McKenzie
For the first time since 2014, the Dryden Eagles Football team has suffered back-to-back losses in a season. When the final buzzer sounded Friday evening at Vincent Massey High School in Brandon, the scoreboard read 19-7 for the home team and the Eagles record fell to 5-2. The loss cemented Dryden into the #4 spot in the Vidruk AA division heading into playoffs. As luck would have it, the two teams have drawn each other again this Friday in the quarterfinals; a game that will be played at Eastside field in Winnipeg. The Massey Vikings have Dryden’s number recently, having handed the Eagles 2 of their last three losses (dating back to the 2015 semifinal).
While dominating the opposition for the majority of the season, the Eagles stout defense ran into a strong and aggressive offensive line at Vincent Massey. The Vikings were able to complete a few long passes and gain big chunks of yardage from their ground game, which gave them a 13-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Eagles were able to close the gap before halftime and narrow the score at 13-7 on an impressive 80-yard touchdown run by Gus Brosseau and a Cale Oberg convert.
The Eagles had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the third quarter as they marched downfield on the strength of two big runs by Gus Brosseau and Mason Desautels. A 10-yard completion from Liam McFayden to Jared Dormer brought up first-and-goal on the three-yard line. Unfortunately, Dryden was unable to convert and the Vikings took possession of the ball. For the rest of the game, the teams exchanged turnovers and Massey was able to continue their ground assault to add another score to make it 19-7.
While the defeat exposed some weaknesses on both sides of the ball, there were also some bright spots despite the loss. The defense continued to show up on the stat sheet: Nick Pinette, Thomas Moline and Tanner Montgomery each recorded an interception, while Koen Taylor forced and recovered a fumble. On the other side of the ball, Gus Brosseau made the most of his six carries by picking up 127 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Liam McFayden also did a great job running the offense while making his first ever start under centre on a day’s notice. McFayden completed three passes for 58 yards while adding another 20 on the ground against a tough Massey defense.
While the Eagles can be proud of their 5-2 record in the AA division against tougher opponents, they are by no means satisfied. The team will need a solid week of planning and practice in order to avoid the same outcome of this past week’s meeting. The coaches expect a hard and focused week of practice before the team heads to Winnipeg Friday. Kickoff is at 4:30 pm at Eastside Field.