CFC Playoff Preview (MB): Can the Pirates sink the Raiders?

It’s playoff time in the Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL). Friday afternoon, the Grant Park Pirates will try to avenge an early season loss to their rival the Oak Park Raiders.

Oak Park gets back into the post-season after claiming the league championship last year.

Last year’s team graduated over thirty students but the Raiders still have some talented players on the squad.

This season hasn’t been an easy one for the Raiders. Coach of the Raiders Stuart Nixon said “We have experienced some bad luck but the boys have worked hard and fought hard to progress through”.

Defense and special teams have been the best advantage to Oak Park this season.

Running back of the Raiders Shak Harris said “Our strength has been our defense mostly since they always put the offense in the best position possible to score”.

I asked both teams what it was like to start the playoffs against a close rival and I got two completely different answers.

“It feels great, it’s another great test for not only us but both teams to see how we have improved and I’m pretty excited” added Harris.

However, on the other side of the ball, Peter Le Clair of the Pirates exclaimed “Playing against a rival team makes it even better. It’s kind of like bragging rights until next year when the teams play”.

The Grant Park Pirates fought some early season injuries but managed to earn the third spot in their division in the WHSFL.

“Injuries were hard on the team early in the season but we are getting healthy at the right time. After wins over Kelvin and Dakota in September The Pirates managed to end the season strong” added Doug Kovacs Coach of Grant Park.

Grant Park had a couple of standout players this season. Josh Weichel was the leading rushing with over 1000 yards while Tony Rossi earned 6 sacks and an interception.

In order for the Pirates to have success against Oak Park, Peter Le Clair said “They’ve got a very strong defence so we are going to have to play physical all game and wear them down”

Kovacs added “Grant Park will need to play mistake free football and be very physical in order to compete with such a long and storied high school such as Oak Park. They are very well coached and we are very evenly matched”.

Going into this game, the Oak Park Raiders are feeling confident they can get another victory Friday but have also given respect to their opponent.

Stuart Nixon said “I’m feeling confident, going into the game we are well prepared but they are a very good competitor and it will be a good game”.





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