High School Preview (MB): Two #CFC50 teams meet for afternoon slug fest

Two #CFC 50 teams will meet at Vincent Massey on Saturday afternoon. The #4St. Paul’s Crusaders and #17Vincent Massey Trojans will battle for bragging rights in the Winnipeg High School Football League when they meet at 2:30 pm.

The St. Paul’s Crusaders won both of last year’s matches by a narrow margin, and both contests easily could have gone either way, that’s just how close these two teams are.

Vincent Massey will head into this one basically a new team from last year’s Anavets bowl finalists. 36 out of 49 players are new to the Varsity program at Massey. “We lost a lot of experience to graduation, so there will be growing pains all season,” mentioned Coach Kelsey McKay. “Our Junior Varsity squad went undefeated last season, so we’re hoping that their past success, and the lessons learned with that, coupled with the experience of our ANAVETS Finalists Vets from last year’s team, will eventually gel.”

Just recently the Trojans traveled to Naples, Italy for a preseason game, and training camp. The young team from Vincent Massey played against a high school team stationed out of a U.S Navy Base, and were successful in more ways than one. Mckay explained, “We played a high school team stationed out of a US Navy Base, and were successful, not only in the win column, but in the playing experience that our whole roster experienced. In addition, the ‘team bonding’ was fantastic, during 9 days in Rome and Naples!”

Eryk Bujalski (47)

The Vincent Massey Trojans have had two big injuries in preseason. Just before the team left for Italy, Massey’s top player and leader, linebacker Eryk Bujalski was injured in practice, and will be out until mid-season at the earliest. Promising young lineman Josiah Bradbury was injured, mid-season is a possible time for his return.

The biggest matchup of the game will be the Trojans’ linebackers, which are much younger now, versus the Crusaders’ offensive line and Offensive Player of Week 1, Nic Peters. “Their offensive line and running back are very talented,” commented McKay.

For the Trojans to start of their season, and defeat the Crusaders for the first time since the Anavets bowl in 2015, they’ll have to play keep-away, controlling the clock with ball possession. If Massey ends up in a high-scoring game with St.Paul’s, it will likely not end up in Vincent Massey’s favor.

With the Trojans earning a win by default in week 1, they are 1 game of experience behind every other team in the WHSFL. “It’ll be interesting to see how our execution, on both sides of the ball, evolves during the game,” said McKay.

Remis Tshiovo #82 Photo credit- Glenn Dickson

Another major factor in this game of two powerhouses is special teams. Last year St. Paul’s had the edge with kick returner Remis Tshiovo. Tshiovo is graduated and now at the University of Manitoba so it will be interesting to see who steps up and takes the reign.

St.Paul’s is coming off of a dominant 39-1 win over the Sisler Spartans in week 1. Nic Peters led the Crusaders to a victory with his performance of carrying the ball for 115 yards on 11 carries, with 1 touchdown and 1 reception for 9 yards.

We at CFC think that the Crusaders will win this game. Having a leader like Eryk Bujalski out might be too much for the Trojans defense to overcome, and they also haven’t had a regular season game before they play a tough opponent like St. Paul’s.

 

 

 

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