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Crusaders trim Clippers 58-0 in football quarter-finals

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The only scrambling the St. Paul’s Crusaders high school football team had to do on Wednesday night was by coach Stacy Dainard to get a bus.

A mixup left the team briefly without transportation from their Charleswood-area school and after another one arrived, the team pretty much stepped onto the turf at Canad Inns Stadium and started playing in the Winnipeg High School Football League’s quarter-finals.

Though the Kelvin Clippers put up a valiant effort, there was no stopping the Crusaders, who plundered their way through the air and on the ground to a 58-0 victory in the Potter AAA Division matchup.

"The bus thing threw us off for a minute but the guys took it really well and we didn’t let that be a distraction," Dainard said. "We had a really good warm-up at the school so we were prepared to come off the bus and get down to business.

"This game was an opportunity for us to get better and we have to improve because we want to move on. We wanted to be in a semifinal and now we are."

The other team to watch in the Potter AAA Division is the defending champion Oak Park Raiders, who beat the Crusaders in last season’s ANAVETS Bowl championship. Led by five touchdowns from running back Keedon Sweetney, the Raiders beat the Sislser AAA Spartans 36-15 in that quarter-final matchup.

In fairness, the St. Paul’s (7-0) vs. Kelvin (0-7) game was the Potter division’s first-meets-last-place game in the league’s playoff format where all eight teams in the top division make the playoffs.

But you got the feeling the Crusaders could have run to the stadium from the Grant Avenue school and still found a way to win.

Quarterback Theo Deezar had eons to throw every time he had the ball in his hands and he had a veritable smorgasbord of weapons like receivers Rhys Hansen and Matthew Hanks and running backs Blair Mattes.

In the semifinals next week, the Crusaders will play the winner of today’s game between the Sturgeon Heights Huskies and Murdoch MacKay Clansmen while Oak Park will meet the winner of today’s game between the Churchill Bulldogs and the Vincent Massey-Winnipeg Trojans.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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