HS Game Preview (MB): Oak Park Raiders have tough week, face Spartans on Friday

This Friday night in the Winnipeg High School Football League, the 3-2 Oak Park Raiders will battle with the 1-4 Sisler Spartans.

Last week the Raiders had an easy victory against the Dakota Lancers 37-0. The Spartans lost to Sturgeon Heights Huskies, 22-0.

Following the win against the Lancers, Oak Park received some bad news Saturday. All of the Raiders practice equipment had been destroyed by arsonists. Fortunately the football community in Winnipeg stepped up and quickly.


Two programs in the WHSFL have stepped up big time. Grant Park and Vincent Massey have loaned equipment to help for the rest of the year. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Wade Miller have each donated $5,000 as well. Current Winnipeg Blue Bomber Andrew Harris and ex Oak Park Raider showed up to practice to donate the money.

This wasn’t the first time the star running back has given back to his old club. “Andrew has stepped up to support our program many times in the past as well,” mentioned Coach Stuart Nixon. “We are all very grateful for him and very proud of him.”

Even though the Raiders had an unfortunate incident last week, it has shown how strong the support around the league is. “The abundance of support exhibited from within the community and league has been humbling to say the least,” said Nixon.

Heading into this game the Raiders are always excited to play Sisler. Coach Nixon even taught there for nine years decades ago. “I admire the coaching staff over there,” added Nixon. “It’s always an extremely physical contest.”

The Sisler Spartans may be 1-4, but they’ve had some big time players on their team. Brayden Desjarlais sits on top of the WHSFL in rushing yards with 765 yards. Sisler’s Sean Esselmont replied, “He is a very promising junior and I am excited with how he is performing this year.”


On defense, Austin Balan has been a dynamic player in the secondary all season. Balan leads the Spartans in tackles and also has an interception. Easton Montour has also been great on both sides of the ball. Montour is a junior linebacker who also plays fullback and is a long snapper. “He continues to be someone we as a team can rely on both in performance and leadership,” explained Esselmont.

For Sisler to have success against Oak Park the Spartans will look to control the clock and use their run game and defense to try and out last the Raiders. “Oak Park is a great team, and a great program,” said Esselmont. “I have a huge amount of respect for Stu Nixon.”

One of Oak Park’s playmakers is Shak Harris and Esselmont had some positive words for him as well, “I coached Shakur Harris at provincial team a few years ago and he is also a great kid with a lot of talent.”

Sisler and Oak Park will be playing this one at Nomads field which has become a home away from home for the Spartans. Esselmont concluded, “We really have been working with the Nomads the past few years to try and unify the north end football community.”

We at CFC think that the Oak Park Raiders will be hungry to play this game and will take it over Sisler. Game time is 6:15 at Nomads.


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