BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Neelin Spartans’ Dylan Minshull dives into the end-zone for a touchdown during a 58-0 Winnipeg High School Football League win over the visiting Tec Voc Hornets on Thursday. Mitchell broke the Currie Division’s single-season rushing record.
The Neelin Spartans wrapped up their Winnipeg High School Football League regular season in a record-setting fashion Thursday afternoon.
Dylan Minshull ran for 158 yards to set a new Andy Currie Division record with 1,430 rushing yards for the season. Sam Waters, one of the shortest members of the Spartans at 5-foot-2, followed that up by kicking a division single-game record eight converts as the Spartans (6-1) cruised past the Tec Voc Hornets 58-0 at Neelin’s field.
Minshull’s mark is something the 5-foot-11, 200-pound running back has wanted for a while. He was on pace to come close to the Kas Vidruk record last season before a knee injury forced him to miss the second half of the season. When he found out Neelin was moving down to the Andy Currie Division this season, the first thing he did was check its record book to see how many yards he had to churn out to get the record.
Now that he has it, Minshull couldn’t be happier.
"It just feels good that you’ve accomplished enough in your lifetime that you can set a record like this," said Minshull, who passed the old mark with a 10-yard run midway through the second quarter. "I had my goal set on breaking it higher, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a team sport, so I may as well share it with the players."
Everyone on the Spartans knew how close Minshull was to breaking the record before the game, and head coach Robert Cullen devised a game plan that would make sure he would be able to rush for the necessary 85 yards to surpass Terry Carmody’s mark of 1,356 yards, which was set in 2006.
Minshull admitted the record was so important that he was more focused on it than he was on getting the win when the game kicked off.
"I’m not going to lie, I was focused on the record, but all in all it comes down to team sports," he said. "We played together. The boys put up big points. I put up points so it’s all good."
Minshull also caught a seven-yard touchdown pass.
Bryce Keilback finished 6-for-9 passing for 58 yards and three touchdowns. Joe Waters and Chance Miller caught the other touchdown passes. Brandon Williams added a one-yard run for a score.
Brock Hiltner made four tackles and returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown, while Dustyn Lamont scored on a 50-yard kickoff return and Nick Ukleja forced a safety to round out the scoring.
Isaak Stark and Quinton Hunter both intercepted a pair of passes.
The victory secured second place in the division for the Spartans (6-1) and eliminated the Hornets (1-5-1) from post-season contention. The Spartans anticipates playing Fort Frances or Beaver Brae in the quarter-finals next week and they’re hoping the league will allow them to host the game. They don’t only want the game because they earned the right to host it with their record, but because they haven’t allowed opponents to score a single point on the Neelin turf all season.
"(I’m) very proud of (the defence)," Cullen said. "They’re still a young group of players, and most of them are in Grade 11 and some are in Grade 10. They do a great job … and all those guys are great athletes and have a bright future in the sport of football as long as they want to keep playing. Not giving up a point, that’s why we want home field."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 19, 2012