The Shay family bleeds Charleswood Broncos purple.
Mom Kathi is the team’s president and manager. Dad Tony is the head coach, and at 163 pounds, middle linebacker MacKenzie Shay stops anything that crosses the scrimmage line with the subtlety of a freight train. MacKenzie’s older brother Joe, was once a Bronco. Then there’s Tony’s older brother Chris, who says he is the "designated, but unofficial, team photographer."
Sunday night at Canad Inns Stadium, MacKenzie Shay and running back Shawn Pachet led the Broncos to Football Manitoba’s Bantam (14-year-old) championship with a 24-8 victory over the East Side Eagles. It was the team’s second straight title (they won it last year as Minor Bantams), and it was their 22nd win in a row over the past two seasons.
And with that, the Shay dynasty draws to an end. MacKenzie is moving on to the Oak Park High School Raiders next year, and Tony will step down as head coach, leaving only Kathi to serve next year as the team’s past president.
The game was part of Football Manitoba’s Championship weekend. Other finals saw North Winnipeg Nomads beat Fort Garry Lions 13-10 in the Major final; East Side beat Fort Garry 34-6 in Atom; St. Vital Mustangs beat Charleswood 22-1 in Peewee; North Winnipeg stopped Transcona Nationals 38-14 in Minor Bantam; East Side stopped St. Vital 31-7 in Senior; Eastman Raiders beat St. Vital 20-7 in Midget and Parkwest Outlaws downed the Neepawa Tigers 40-28 in Rural Nine-Man.
On paper the Bantam game shaped up to be a barn-burner, as the Eagles only loss this season was a 12-8 defeat at the hands of the Broncos. However, Pachet almost single-handedly took care of the Eagles in the first quarter, rushing for two Charleswood touchdowns on runs of six and nine yards. Quarterback Jordan Nagy scored the other major on a two-yard plunge. Adrian Frost rounded out the scoring by kicking three converts (worth two points apiece in Bantam, to encourage coaches to teach kicking).
The lone Eagles’ touchdown came in the fourth quarter on a five-yard pass from quarterback Lucas Henry to Tanner Pesciteli. Pesciteli also kicked the convert.
"We had four years together as a team," said Tony Shay. "The first two were tough, but the last two we just came together. I don’t think it’s a dynasty, it’s just good kids playing football, having a good time and playing like real sportsmen."
"This feels pretty good," said MacKenzie Shay, who says he’ll dedicate the off-season to getting into shape and perhaps adding a little more bulk. "My brother Joe played with the Broncos last year and he won the championship too."
Pachet said the Eagles defence got tougher as the game wore on. "They just kind of stood their ground," he noted.
The coach gave credit to the Eagles, saying if they had played the first quarter the way they did the next three, things could have been different. "It would have been a very different game, but we came out hot, did well, and we didn’t have to worry after that."