Silver for Spartans

by Phil Ambroziak

History sometimes has a habit of repeating itself.

That’s something the Carpenter High School Spartans football team learned the hard way on Saturday (Nov. 9) when they fell to the Indian Head Broncs from Indian Head High School 14-7 in the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association (SHSAA) provincial final. It was the first time CHS competed in a provincial football final since 1963 when, coincidentally, they lost to Indian Head 28-0.

“It was not the result we were looking for,” remarked Spartans head coach Craig Paylor.

While the weather in Indian Head held up for the game, Paylor credits the Broncs’ strong defence and Meadow Lake’s inability to shut their opponents down in a decisive fashion as being the primary reason as to why CHS was unable to secure the victory.

“They had a really good team, especially in terms of defence, which is obvious when you consider they held us to only seven points,” he continued. “We didn’t move the ball as successfully as we had in past games. We were in the red zone (inside the 20-yard line) four or five times, but didn’t come away with enough scores. The main thing is we didn’t put that team away like we did the others in our last eight games, which means kudos to their defence. Indian Head certainly came to play.”

CHS opened the scoring thanks to a touchdown in the first quarter by Aaron Varjassy. The subsequent kick was also good, putting the Spartans up 7-0. Late in the third quarter, however, Indian Head scored resulting in a 7-6 Meadow Lake lead heading into the fourth.

“Late in the game we also had an injury (Briden Dull) on defence,” Paylor said. “We had to make adjustments, but broke down on one play allowing them to get a 40-yard pass play. From there, they were able to punch it in with five minutes left in the game.”

Paylor went on to describe the contest as a game of inches.

“They were just two good teams playing football,” he said, noting the final result was a tremendous letdown for the CHS squad.

“Their initial reaction was obviously a little bit of a sad one,” he added. “The team hadn’t lost a game all year, so it’s tough to take a loss – especially in the provincial final. They know they had a very good season overall, but they didn’t reach their goal. Their goal was to win, but that was also the goal of the other team. It’s unfortunate one team had to lose.”

Veteran Spartans player Dean Poitras agreed.

“The whole team was very disappointed,” Poitras said. “We had worked hard all season to get to that point, and to come up short was heartbreaking. Overall, though, it was a great game to play in.”

This was Poitras’ last year with the Spartans. He will graduate this spring and hopes to continue playing football at the post-secondary level.

Meanwhile, in spite of the outcome, a large contingent of Spartans supporters were in attendance for the game including Ray Miller, Maurice Demmans and George McLeod, all of whom were part of the CHS team in 1963. Also on hand was Poitras’ mother,  Joyce – a long-time Spartans faithful.

“The boys played so hard all season,” Joyce Poitras said. “It’s sad to see it end this way, but they’re a great bunch of boys and I am so proud of them.”

As for next season, Paylor said it will be more of a reloading year as opposed to a rebuilding one.

“We’re losing some big pieces of the puzzle, but we’ll come back,” he said.

“We still have a good spread of guys returning who will just be stepping up into different roles.”

3 Responses to “Silver for Spartans”
  1. Dan Loran says:

    Nice article…I was the manager of the 1963 Broncs Team…..I have some photo’s of the 3 Gentleman that were on the 1963 that came to Indian Head to watch there team. If some one sends me a Email address I will send you these photos. I am not trying to rub salt in the wounds but I put together action photos of all the teams the Broncs played this year, plus the final , it is on You-Tube Dan Loran Indian Head

    • Wes(ley) Green says:

      Good work. I am also a member of that CHS 63 team. What a coincidence of events for a 50 anniv. I have no pics. Yesterday we celebrated our coaches 80th birthday here in Mesa Az. What a time we had reminiscing. If you are able to send me any pics that would be great.

      I hear your team was awesome.


      • Dan Loran says:

        I have some photos of the three gentleman that came down to the game in Indian Head – Ray Miller – Maurice Demmans and George Mcleod …Plus Alan Quigley and myself for Indian Head, I don’t believe I can post or send photos here I need your email or one of these guys email to send you the pictures. I did make a You-Tube video of all the teams that Indian Head Player on the road to the final Dan Loran

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