CFC Playoff Preview (MB): Spartans try for season sweep against Gophers

The playoffs are on tap Friday night in the Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL). The Garden City Gophers and Sisler Spartans will battle it out at a neutral site in north end Winnipeg.

When the two teams met last time there was no shortage of excitement. Sisler defeated the Gophers 28-20 and earned bragging rights until this game.

The unique element of this game is most of these players know each other and have played football together before.

Sisler head coach Sean Esselmont expanded “It is a game that will always be filled with a lot of energy since a lot of these kids grew up together and played club football together”.

Jarod Campbell was excited when I asked him about making the playoffs and meeting a rival opponent.

“Playing against Garden City is gonna be tough, there’s a lot of competition between the two schools, most of us played club football together and went to the same elementary schools but it feels good and it’s definitely going to be a great game”.

This season has been a good one for the Spartans. Sisler’s coach is proud of his team and he can’t wait to get the post-season underway.

“I am extremely proud of my players for how they have performed during the regular season and am very excited to see them play in the playoffs” added Esselmont.

For the Spartans, Ethan Paul has carried the ball effectively and Bailey Pavcek has been a beast on defensive and offensive line.

In the first meeting with the Spartans, Beau Wilks’ Gophers had a few errors in the first half and Sisler was quick to capitalize on them.

Wilks said “We had a span of 6-7 minutes of poor football where we made mistakes and didn’t execute in our first meeting in week #4. They scored 11 points in that short time to go extend their lead before half. We know we cannot have another episode like that on Friday”.

Garden City has some talented players on both sides of the ball. Kieran Cummings anchors the defence, while Marcel Arruda-Welch is a standout on offence.

# CFC100 Marcel Arruda-Welch has twelve touchdowns on the year and his longest one was 74 yards. Arruda-Welch is dangerous in all three phases of the game- special teams, defence and offense.

Quarterback Riley Francis is impressed with his defensive backfield.

“Our defensive backs also make a big difference when it comes to passing teams. The way they leave it all on the field is pretty impressive” said Francis.

Riley Francis puts all friendships aside come game time. Riley said “When it comes to old friends, I definitely have lot of respect for them as opponents. However, when the whistle blows and kickoff begins, it’s game on”.






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