The Murdoch MacKay Clansmen have their air attack fine-tuned.
The Transcona high school team pared down its roster to the core for the Winnipeg High School Football League’s North American Lumber eight-on-eight Passing Camp at Tec Voc High School on June 25.
The Clansmen kept their offensive attack intact, though, and were able to pull away with the championship for the second year in a row. The team downed the St. Paul’s Crusaders 26-6 in the final.
After winning with a Grade 10-laden roster in 2012, the Clansmen were another year faster, stronger, and wiser to take the 12-team tournament in 2013. Since the flag-football tournament stresses the long bomb, the Clansmen knew they were in pretty good shape.
"Let’s be honest — we expected to win," said head coach Ron Bresch. "We’re the high school version of the CFL — we throw, we throw, we throw, we throw."
Leading the charge is pivot Drenin Busch, who will look to lead the team to its first Potter Division title in his Grade 12 year after being a part of a Vidruk Division championship in 2010.
Busch, 17, has been tossing footballs to the bulk of his receivers since playing pee-wee football with the Transcona Nationals, and he stressed he has a good feel for his teammates.
"It’s insane how easy it is to play football when the receivers are open like that," said Busch, whose 66.3 completion percentage and 69 completions were tops in the Potter Division in 2012.
His 890 yards were second to Jamie Dzikowicz of St. Paul’s. "We all have a really good chemistry together."
Receiver Brenden Okaley noted the team’s toughest test came before the final, as the Garden City Fighting Gophers initially gave the Clansmen a run for their money.
"They played good defence, but once we figured them out, it wasn’t that hard," he said. "They were the ones that stopped us the most."
Coach Bresch said the tournament helps set the table for a more exciting style of game during the fall season.
"You see a lot of teams trying to develop this shotgun offence, pistol offence, spread offence, so this works really nicely with that," said Bresch. "The league throws more than it used to — it makes for exciting games."
Receiver and backup quarterback Liam Grace said the team offence hasn’t maxed out, and just keeps on developing.
"The receiving corps and the quarterbacks are more experienced this year," said Grace, a 15-year-old who just finished Grade 9. "The passing game was the strong point for the team in 2012, and will continue to be the strong point for the team this year."
Though passing is stressed at the tournament, running is allowed, as the team took its first game-action look at running back Jalen Burley, who will enter Grade 9 this fall. Bresch estimated Burley stands about 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds.