Vikings’ QB Evan Didychuk looks for an opening while being tackled Friday. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
In their final home game of the season, the Vincent Massey Vikings clinched a playoff spot for this year while showing why they should be in good shape for next year as well.
A lot of their players who are in Grade 10 helped the Vikings dominate the Maples Marauders 47-0 in their Winnipeg High School Football League game on Friday at the Massey field.
Matt Bryant made the most of his five carries by rushing for 28 yards and two touchdowns and also took a screen pass 80 yards for another score.
Meanwhile, Steven Gresl led the Vikings defence with seven tackles and Ty Kuz added six. Both are also in Grade 10 and helped Massey (4-1) hold Maples (1-4) to just two first downs in the game.
Watching some of the younger guys step up impressed head coach Mike Steeves, who is glad his players understood a message he sent two weeks ago.
"We talked a couple weeks ago when Mike Bright was the hero that we need guys to step up and put the team on their shoulders for a little bit and we had a lot of guys step up today," he said.
Bryant was especially impressive on his seven-yard touchdown run where he bowled over opposing defenders on his way to the end zone. He also showed off his skills on his receiving touchdown, where he used a stiff arm to break to the outside and then tip-toed down the sideline to score.
Bryant played a key role in the Vikings’ blocking scheme that allowed James Johnson to rack up 85 yards and two TDs on 21 carries, which is what Bryant prides himself on.
"I like to block mostly," he said. "I’m a big team player and I just love to be there for the team, even when I make the big play."
Vikings quarterback Evan Didychuk, who went 5-for-12 for 179 yards, connected with A.J. Deacon for a 62-yard touchdown and a two-point convert, while Michael Bright took a reverse, which he cut back to the other side of the field, 80 yards for a touchdown. Jamil Tahhan kicked three converts to round out the scoring.
With the win, the Vikings clinched one of the eight playoff spots available in the Kas Vidruk Division. They still believe they have a chance to finish first, but they won’t host a home playoff game since all of them will be played at East Side Field or Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg.
While Steeves hopes to become the division’s top seed, he also doesn’t want his players dream about that yet.
"It’s hard to look too far ahead as we did last week. (We thought we’d beat) Grant Park and then we’d run the table and we ended up losing," Steeves said. "It was a refocus this week and I think you can’t take anyone lightly because who knows who’s going to show up."
YARDSTICKS: The Vikings inducted former players Josh Cory and Tyson Snelling, as well as the Dubois family — Michael, Tanis, Christopher, Carolyn, Matthew, Catherine and Michael — into their Hall of Fame during halftime of Friday’s game. Cory played for Massey from 2000 to 2003, while Snelling suited up from 2002-2005, with the Dubois family members going into the Hall as both players and builders from 2001 to 2011.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 6, 2012