Submitted by Geoff Zilkalns
Not everything in life ends the way you want yet, if you can reflect on the journey, you realize that some pretty special things have happened.
The DHS Eagles football season ended with a 29-19 loss in the AA quarterfinals Friday and with it ended the high school football eligibility of seven great contributors to the program. During the four years Xavier Korzinski, Brett Webster, Kadin Taylor, Joel Ottertail, Liam McFayden and Thomas Moline and Jarett Hicks competed for the team the squad won more games than any other. The group ended 2017 doing all they could to add one more victory, their opponents proved too big and strong to prevail.
The match opened with the 3rd seeded Vikings marching downfield for a touchdown on a 3 yard run, the drive aided by a pass interference call reminiscent of 2015. In the final minute of the frame the powerful run game of Vincent Massey would lead to another short touchdown and a 14-0 advantage. The change of ends combined with the pride of the Eagles would see the contest tilt in Dryden’s favour however.
As the Eagle D stiffened, opportunities were created for the offence which was bolstered by the return of quarterback Hicks from an ankle injury that held him out of the regular season finale. Nick Pinette’s fantastic punt coverage was the spark as he recovered a bobbled punt near midfield. From there Dryden mixed the run and pass to set themselves up with first and goal from the Viking six yard line. Running back Mason Desautels was on the receiving end of a Hicks pass to put the Eagles on the board.
After the halftime break it was Dryden that came out flying. Hicks found Thomas Moline streaking across the middle for a 74 yard catch and run major. Soon thereafter Hicks fooled the defenders as he kept on the option and raced 79 yards to give Dryden the lead. With the score 19-14 for DHS it was clear there was no quit in the Blue and Gold.
Vincent Massey would respond late in the third quarter to retake the lead from one yard out, once again using their big offensive line and powerful ball carriers. The size of the Vikings had also taken a toll as several Eagles were forced to sit due to injury which contributed to some turnovers that impeded any Dryden comeback. Scoring in the fourth quarter from two yards out completed the scoring for the Brandon team.
For Dryden’s first foray into AA football in years the 5-3 record the team produced should be seen as a success. The defence was physical and opportunistic all year and made every game entertaining. The seniors that now depart can be proud of the program they leave behind. The undefeated championship run of 2016 and the transition to AA this fall showed that Dryden can play exciting, physical football that a community can get behind. As the mantle is passed to a new set of leaders, the school looks forward to new challenges to be found when the leaves next turn to yellow and red.