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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Crusaders bring their AA game

Blaze to title in Vidruk Division tilt

Posted: 11/9/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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Even swirling snow couldn't freeze the St. Paul's Crusaders AA football team on Friday night as they blazed out a Free Press Bowl win at Investors Group Field.

The Crusaders' second varsity squad -- fully a quarter of the school tries out for its teams -- rolled over the Garden City Fighting Gophers 32-0 in the Winnipeg High School Football League's Kas Vidruk division championship game, which kicked off at 5 p.m. It's the first time the Crusaders' AA team has won the title since 2009.

"Words can't explain how happy I am right now," said Grade 10 running back Trevor Wright, who was named the top performer of the tilt after busting out some big-money plays. "It feels great. It's an honour to be named player of the game."

The Crusaders and Fighting Gophers never met during the regular season, though they were both 6-2 heading into the playoffs. When kickoff came on Friday night, the St. Paul's team took control early, and never looked back. They opened the scoring in the first quarter when pivot Tommy Semchyshyn found Cole Zadro with a 37-yard touchdown pass.

They got their second score off an unusual play in the second frame, when kicker Matias Bueno recovered his own missed field goal in the Gophers' end zone. After the half, the Crusaders continued to pull away, as Wright exploded for a huge 73-yard touchdown scamper. In the final frame, the Crusaders would add one last major with a five-yard hustle from running back Heath Chalmers.

It was a slick game underneath the flurry of melting snow, and the ball kept squirting out of players' hands: In just over three minutes in the third quarter, players fumbled the ball three times, and it changed possession twice. But the Crusaders were still able to take their game plan and execute it until the end.

For the team's five seniors, it was a chance to go out on a high note, and for its 36 rookies, a chance to kick off their high school career with a winning experience.

"Our guys just believed, and they showed up today, and they played a good game," head coach Peter Pura said. "We're just blessed to have the opportunity that we had today. I'm happy for our seniors."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

  • Heath Chalmers of the St.Paul's Crusaders runs through several Garden City Gophers during the second half of the Free Press Bowl Championship.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Heath Chalmers of the St.Paul's Crusaders runs through several Garden City Gophers during the second half of the Free Press Bowl Championship.

  • Garden City Gophers quarterback Justin Casper is chased by St.Paul's Crusaders Bradley Buckle during the second half.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Garden City Gophers quarterback Justin Casper is chased by St.Paul's Crusaders Bradley Buckle during the second half.

  • A member of the St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team crushes Garden City Gophers quarterback Justin Kasper causing him to fumble.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    A member of the St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team crushes Garden City Gophers quarterback Justin Kasper causing him to fumble.

  • A member of the Garden City Gophers AA football team looks on from the bench during a 32-0 defeat at the hands of the St.Pauls Crusaders.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    A member of the Garden City Gophers AA football team looks on from the bench during a 32-0 defeat at the hands of the St.Pauls Crusaders.

  • The St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates their Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates their Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers.

  • Heath Chalmers of the St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates after the team defeated the Garden City Gophers.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Heath Chalmers of the St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates after the team defeated the Garden City Gophers.

  • Adam Leckie of the St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates their Free Press Bowl Championship victory.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Adam Leckie of the St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates their Free Press Bowl Championship victory.

  • Garden City Gophers Nathan Collings and Keenan Koswin stand dejected after losing to the St.Paul's Crusaders.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Garden City Gophers Nathan Collings and Keenan Koswin stand dejected after losing to the St.Paul's Crusaders.

  • The St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates their Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates their Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers.

  • The St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates their Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrates their Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers.

  • Calvin Diaz (left), head coach Peter Pura (centre) and Trevor Wright of the St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrate their Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Calvin Diaz (left), head coach Peter Pura (centre) and Trevor Wright of the St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team celebrate their Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers.

  • The St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team pose for a team photo after winning the Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers by a score of 32-0 at Investors Group Field.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St.Paul's Crusaders AA football team pose for a team photo after winning the Free Press Bowl Championship victory over the Garden City Fighting Gophers by a score of 32-0 at Investors Group Field.

  • St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team quarterback Drake Lesperance (10) fires a pass during the second half of the team's Anavets Bowl victory.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team quarterback Drake Lesperance (10) fires a pass during the second half of the team's Anavets Bowl victory.

  • Alex Taylor (33) of the St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team drags Murdoch McKay Clansmen Kane Small (8) into the end zone for a score during the second half of the Anavets Bowl.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Alex Taylor (33) of the St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team drags Murdoch McKay Clansmen Kane Small (8) into the end zone for a score during the second half of the Anavets Bowl.

  • Samson Abbott of the St. Paul's Crusaders sacks Murdoch McKay Clansmen quarterback Drenin Busch during the second half.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Samson Abbott of the St. Paul's Crusaders sacks Murdoch McKay Clansmen quarterback Drenin Busch during the second half.

  • Austin Coutts of the St. Paul's Crusaders runs for an easy touchdown.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Austin Coutts of the St. Paul's Crusaders runs for an easy touchdown.

  • The St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team celebrates their victory over the Murdoch McKay Clansmen by a score of 56-8 at Investors Group Field.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team celebrates their victory over the Murdoch McKay Clansmen by a score of 56-8 at Investors Group Field.

  • Matt MacDonald (81), Cody Cranston (25) and Teagan Horton (5) of the St. Paul's Crusaders celebrate their Anavets Bowl victory.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Matt MacDonald (81), Cody Cranston (25) and Teagan Horton (5) of the St. Paul's Crusaders celebrate their Anavets Bowl victory.

  • The St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team celebrates their Anavet s Bowl victory on the turf at Investors Group Field.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team celebrates their Anavet s Bowl victory on the turf at Investors Group Field.

  • The St. Paul's Crusaders hoist the hardware.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St. Paul's Crusaders hoist the hardware.

  • The St. Paul's Crusaders celebrate.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St. Paul's Crusaders celebrate.

  • The St. Paul's Crusaders pose for a photo.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St. Paul's Crusaders pose for a photo.

  • The St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team celebrates their Anavets Bowl victory over the Murdoch McKay Clansmen by a score of 56-8 at Investors Group Field on Friday.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    The St. Paul's Crusaders AAA football team celebrates their Anavets Bowl victory over the Murdoch McKay Clansmen by a score of 56-8 at Investors Group Field on Friday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 9, 2013 C5

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