In seven regular season Winnipeg High School Football league games, the Dakota Lancers allowed only 14 points against. The offence, however, pounded out 280 points of its own to finish the team's first season undefeated at 7-0.
On Wednesday night at Canad Inns Stadium, the Elmwood Giants managed to score eight points but it was wasn't enough as the Lancers advanced into the championship final next week with a 22-8 Andy Currie Division A semifinal victory.
Despite their success this year, the past five days has cast a pall over the entire school after the deaths of two former students in an automobile accident Saturday.
Rather than let it pull the team down, running back Bryce Davidson, who scored touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters for the Lancers, said it served to motivate and inspire the team.
"We just had to push it hard," said Davidson. "We were suffering a loss at our school, so that really gave us motivation to win. Our coaches were always there for us, and they told is the rest was up to us."
Dakota will face the Daniel McIntyre Maroons Wednesday in the division final. The Maroons won their pass into the championship in the late game last night by defeating the Stonewall Rams 14-3.
Benedict Muhima scored both Maroons touchdowns on runs of 52 and 75 yards, and added both converts. Stonewall's points came on a single and a safety touch.
Head coach Ray Jarvis said his Lancers have surpassed his wildest expectations.
"We had an idea that we had a bunch of good kids, but this is a credit to the coaching staff and the kids buying into the system. They had a goal at the beginning of the season and they've surpassed where we thought they would be."
"We thought this would be a losing year," said Davidson, "but our coaches never gave up on us, and the veterans who came from the St. Vital Mustangs pushed the rookies. We set the bar way up there and so far no one has been able to touch us."
Also scoring for Dakota was running back/kicker David Kargbo on an eight-yard run. Kargbo added three converts and a single.
Elmwood running back Kingsley Khamphavong scored the Giants' only touchdown on a one-yard run. The Giants added a two-point convert to their total.
Two semifinals were played in the Kas Vidruk AA Division Wednesday.
Brendan Gladu scored a pair of one-yard touchdowns, one to end a drive late in the fourth quarter, giving the Kildonan East Reivers an 18-13 win over the Portage Trojans to kick off the three-game evening.
"Gladu played a monster game for us, both on offence and defence," said Kildonan East coach Daryl Didyk as his team was boarding the bus.
Didyk said his young team simply got stronger and stronger all season.
"We always hope for a spot in the final every year," said the coach, "but you know what? Truly I am not surprised that we are in the final (next week). I am surprised that we won eight in a row, and I am surprised that these guys came together as much as they have, but no, I am not surprised that we are here."
Also scoring for the Reivers was Brad Mikoluff who kicked one field goal, two converts and a single.
Julian Major and Dean Shirtliff scored touchdowns for Portage and Brennan Garrioch kicked one convert.
There has been a change of location for tonight's semifinal games. They will be played at the Canad Inns Stadium, and not the East Side Field, as originally scheduled.
The St. Paul's Crusaders and the Murdoch MacKay Clansmen face off at 3 p.m., in a Vidruk Division semifinal, to be followed by two John Potter Division A semifinals.
The Vincent Massey Trojans play St. Paul's in one semi at 5:15 p.m., and the Churchill Bulldogs take on the Oak Park Raiders in the other at 7:30 p.m.