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.”