Nathan Knott of the Plainsmen tackles Portage Trojans ball-carrier Dylan Brydges Thursday at Crocus. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
The Crocus Plainsmen’s playoff hopes took a huge hit on Thursday.
The Plainsmen lost 29-18 to the visiting Portage Trojans at the Crocus field to fall into a tie for last place in the Winnipeg High School Football League’s Kas Vidruk Division with the Trojans at 1-5. The top eight teams in the 10-team division reach the post-season, and the Plainsmen were hoping a win over the previously winless Trojans would give them a chance to visit the playoffs.
"It’s pretty tough," said Crocus quarterback Ryan Baker, who completed 11 of 18 passes for 129 yards, one touchdown and one interception. "We practised all week hoping to have a good day today and it just didn’t go our way."
The Plainsmen fell behind early, giving up a touchdown on the Trojans’ opening possession, and trailed 15-12 at the half. Portage added a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to go up by 17, but Crocus looked poised to make a comeback in the fourth.
Victor St. Pierre scored on an 11-yard catch early in the quarter. Crocus drove to the Portage one-yard line with 3:40 left, but Baker was stuffed on a third-down sneak. St. Pierre fumbled on the Trojans one-yard line with 51 seconds left to seal his team’s fate.
While turnovers played a major factor late in the game, Crocus head coach Kevin Boyd admitted some of the blame has to go to the coaching staff for not being able to keep its players’ hopes up while trailing the whole way.
"You could see it in some of the kids and we were telling them ‘We can score quick. We can score quick,’" he said. "Some of them get down and have trouble getting back up. Obviously we have to do a better job as a coaching staff to get that changed with them."
St. Pierre led Crocus with 16 rushes for 195 yards and a touchdown in addition to his lone reception. Cody Robinson had 10 rushes for 34 yards and a touchdown. Taylor Maloney caught six passes for 89 yards and Brennen Campbell had three catches for 29 yards.
Spencer Harries recorded 15 tackles and Steven Siebrecht added 12.
With the loss, the Plainsmen know they will need to beat the River East Kodiaks (4-1) when they host them next Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and get some help from other teams. Boyd, however, remains optimistic.
"I thought defensively we’ve made some huge strides," he said. "They really tightened up in the second half. I think if we can keep the pressure on next week, I think we can do well. Offensively, we just have to hold on to that ball."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 12, 2012