Spartans outshine Comets in exhibition game

Kohl Eide claims the ball and makes a mad dash for the end zone. A rookie last year, Eide was more than happy to claim his first touchdown of the season during an exhibition game. "It'll make me more confident in the long-run, just running the ball down," he said.

By Ben Ingram

The Carpenter High School Spartans opened up the 2011 high school football season by winning an exhibition game 17-14 against the Melfort Comets on Saturday.

It was a victory well-earned by a team that finished second in its division last season. The Spartans commanded the field, taking advantage of numerous Comets penalties.

Scoring opened in the second quarter when the Spartans forced a Comets safety. It was soon followed up by a touchdown and field goal.

Late in the third quarter, Melfort responded on a weak punt by the Spartans, converting a touchdown with 1:25 left in the quarter. The home team responded by blocking the Comet kick attempt, holding them to six points.

With 5:55 left in the game, Grade 10 student Kohl Eide converted an impressive touchdown from about 40 yards out. The Spartans had gained possession after a Comets turnover.

“Our offensive line opened up the hole, I saw the hole and cut back, ran through for the touchdown,” Eide said. “Felt pretty good, my first touchdown of the year.”

The home team followed up the play with a two-point conversion, bringing their lead to 17-6 in the dying minutes of play — but they hadn’t earned their victory yet.

With 50 seconds to go, Melfort managed a touchdown and two-point conversion to bring the score within three. The team took a timeout to discuss strategy and opted for an on-side kick to the Spartans.

The ball was delivered right to the hands of a Spartan and as instructed, the player fell right to the ground to protect the possession. The team took a knee to seal the win.

The Comets also had to do without Grade 10 student Cole Sather, who injured his knee during the second quarter and was taken by ambulance for treatment. There was speculation he may have dislocated the knee, but his coach said the injury was not as bad as initially thought.

For Carpenter, the exhibition game signaled a high degree of optimism for the coming season, which starts this Friday in Unity.

“I definitely think we have a lot more experience coming this year,” defensive coach Brent Plant said. “I think we’re just going to get better and better.

The number of Grade 12 players on the team has increased by as many as nine, meaning the team hopes to take advantage of the added experience moving forward.

For Plant, the strategy is to maintain the same line of thought as last year. He did admit a concern that the team needs to improve coverage and pass defense, but he’s optimistic they’ll be ready for Unity on Friday, a team known for its long-range play.

“We’ve got some young guys out there, they’ve got a little bit of a learning curve, but we’ll just keep working on it,” Plant said.

For offensive coach Jeremy Sundeen, the task is teaching the players a new playbook.

While he was impressed with the team’s effort, Sundeen said there are a lot of areas that will need improvement going forward.

“Lots of mistakes, there’s always lots of mistakes. New offense, totally new playbook,” he said, adding that heavy repetition will be the key to ensuring the team gets more consistent and organized. “Guys not knowing what they’re doing,” he explained.

The team’s next home game is against the Delisle Rebels on Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. in Lions Park.

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