While the score was not indicative of the progress the DHS football team made into the second week of the season, the first contest on Harry McMaster Field had positives for the Blue and Gold.
The day began with a ceremony to honour the legacy gift from the family of Scott Norman. A former Eagle, Scott was always an ardent supporter of the Falcons and Eagle programs.
Before succumbing to cancer this spring he voiced his desire to see DHS acquire dark uniforms which might be easier to see player numbers from a distance. The family designed a very stylish outfit and gave the donations made in Scott’s name to purchase a set. That so many young footballers will benefit for years to come is something to be proud of.
Entering the game, the team looked to show tangible progress after a performance in week one that showed the large step required to compete at the AAA level. With few players returning from last year that played big roles, it fell to a younger group to learn on the job with direction from the seniors remaining.
The team was very eager to get underway and a spirited kickoff launched the visiting Sturgeon Heights Huskies into action. Though Dryden went 2 and out in their first possession, the group looked quicker and more precise than 8 days earlier.
The Huskies came out using tempo to try and catch the Eagles off guard, twice the D seemed to hold only to see the guests gamble on third down and convert. The drive ended in a 1 yard plunge from the quarterback to open the scoring.
Before the quarter ended the lead grew to 13-0 after another short scoring run. In what would prove to be an issue all day, the front four defenders struggled with the offensive line and the Huskies were able to get yardage in chunks while the quarterback had ample time to find open targets.
Offensively Dryden managed to move the ball with some consistency. Bailey Murrell hauled in a 44 yard strike from Carter Armstrong to close the gap to 20-6. Unfortunately the Eagles gave up two late, long scoring plays to put the score at 33-6 before the halftime break.
Realizing the hill would be a big one to climb, the group ensured they approached the second half as a chance to improve. Liberally substituting, the Eagles had flashes and maintained a cohesive and positive mindset. Micah Clarke had a consistent game as each run seemed to display greater confidence, he would finish with 58 yards rushing on 7 carries.
Carter Armstrong chipped in with 71 yards on the ground and another 71 through the air, Jared Dormer snagging 4 passes himself. Linebackers Gus Brosseau, Bailey Murrell and Brody McMurrich were kept busy, safety Nick Pinette patrolled the back end and added 4 tackles. The final tally was 48-6 for Sturgeon.
Things don’t get any easier for Dryden as next up is a trip to St. Paul’s High School on Thursday to face their Crusaders. The Eagles will look to generate pressure and ball pursuit on defence, the offence must play fast in order to try and keep the opponents off balance.
With work to be done to be able to be competitive at the highest level in the WHSFL, the young athletes are committed to building the framework to do just that.