Quarterback Bryce Keilback throws a pass during the Neelin Spartans’ football season opener on Friday afternoon. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Chance Miller of the Neelin Spartans tries to break through a tackle during the Winnipeg High School Football League season opener against the Sisler Spartans at Neelin High School on Thursday. Neelin won the game 40-0. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Chance Miller of the Neelin Spartans reaches for a loose ball as he is tackled by a member of the Sisler Spartans in the Winnipeg High School Football League season opener on Thursday evening at the Neelin High School field. Neelin rolled to a 40-0 triumph. (Tim Smith/Brandon Sun) (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
The Neelin Spartans didn’t waste any time sending a message to the rest of the Andy Currie Division in the Winnipeg High School Football League.
With some trickery in the first quarter, the host Spartans turned a fake punt into seven points and never looked back en route to pounding the Sisler Spartans 40-0 at Neelin Field on Thursday night.
"We came out confident and played well tonight," Neelin head coach Rob Cullen said.
While the Spartans were proficient on offence, it was the defence that was the story. Time and time again, the Neelin offence was awarded good field position by a hungry defence that made it a nightmare for any Sisler player with the ball.
"We played a great defensive scheme tonight," Cullen said. "I was a little surprised (Sisler) was going to the air that much, but we covered really well and took away their run game early — hopefully that continues all season."
And cover they did. When defensive ends Brandon Williams and Avery Hall weren’t sacking the Sisler pivot, it was the secondary, led by Matt Mitchler and Quinton Hunter, that were a bunch of ball hawks.
"It was a good game and coming in I was a little shaky until I got a couple of hits under my belt and then I was good to go," said Hunter, who had three interceptions and scored a touchdown. "It’s always good to start the season with a win and hopefully we can build on that," he added.
If the defence set them up, the offence knocked them down. Neelin quarterback Bryce Keilback was efficient, going 5-for-6 for 147 yards. However, after turning what appeared to be a sack for a loss into a 36-yard scamper that ended in a hard tackle at the Sisler two-yard line, he left the game with a minor injury. With Keilback on the sidelines, Dustyn Lamont filled in, going 1-for-2, with his only connection a 40-yard bomb to Chance Miller for a touchdown.
Lamont also carried the ball six times for 30 yards and a touchdown, while Dylan Minshull, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, had 16 carries for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
"I’ve been waiting for a long time and I was excited to get back in and help the guys," Minshull said. "(Sisler) was leaving the middle wide open and our O-line was getting a good push and our receivers were making plays, so it was good."
Sam Waters was 2-for-3 on extra points, while Joe Waters finished 2-for-2 on field goals.
Neelin will now get ready to host Daniel McIntyre High School next Thursday at 5 p.m.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 7, 2012