December 11, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Winnipeg West hasn't lost a game heading into the Red River Cup final. The last thing they plan to do is take home a silver medal.
Winnipeg West has been flawless, winning all their round-robin games in the under-16 invitational football tournament. They've defeated British Columbia Lower Mainland, North Saskatchewan, South Saskatchewan and East Winnipeg.
The 4-0 Winnipeg West team will play B.C. Lower Mainland in the final at Investors Group Field tonight at 6 p.m. The B.C. team gave Winnipeg West its most challenging game of the tournament, but Winnipeg West picked up the 21-16 win.
Head coach Charles Bazilewich credits the team's success to having strong offensive and defensive games. However, he points out one aspect of the game that has allowed running back Trevor Wright to accumulate the most rushing yards in the tournament.
"Our offensive line, leading for Trevor Wright, has really stuck out for me," Bazilewich said. "Trevor, as amazing an athlete as he is, has a great offensive line and there aren't even people around him to touch him. I think that's been a great combination."
One of the young men creating holes for Wright is Sisler Spartans' Jarrell Crampton, 15, who is playing on both the offensive and defensive lines.
"I expect a really tough game from B.C. They were hard last time and I expect them to bring lots of intense pressure and lots of new plays," Crampton said. "To beat them I think we need to keep playing the way we've been playing and keep our intensity up."
That kind of intensity has led to Wright accumulating 296 yards on the ground on 16 carries. That translates into a mind-blowing 18.5 yards-per-rush.
Wright, 15, had his most difficult game against B.C. Their defence kept him to smaller gains and Winnipeg had to slowly chip their way downfield. Wright will be looking for holes created by the offensive line and then he'll do the rest.
"I just find a hole and go. I can make a guy miss once I get started," he said. "They're pretty big, but if we get all of our blocking done then it should be easier to run against them."
Bazilewich doesn't put the pressure on his team to win the championship because the Red River Cup is about more than the title.
"It's not about winning or losing. I told the guys that if we execute and accomplish the little things, then we'll be able to achieve the big goal. I don't care about winning or losing, it's all about the experience," Bazilewich said.
Even if Bazilewich thinks it's about the experience, Crampton and the rest of Winnipeg West are going into the game looking for one result.
"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if we went undefeated in the first round and then lose the championship game. It absolutely means nothing. You have to win it, because that's what it's all about," Crampton said.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2013 C6