Westman’s Grant McDill catches a pass in front of Greendell defender Matt Moore on Saturday. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
The Westman Wolverines made a little history Saturday afternoon at the Crocus Plains high school football field.
For the first time in the team’s three-year history, the Wolverines qualified for the Manitoba Major Football League playoffs after disposing of the Greendell Falcons 32-10 to finish with a 4-4 record for the second straight season.
Brendon Brydges, one of the players who has been with the Wolverines since its inception in 2010, couldn’t be happier to finally reach the playoffs.
"It feels amazing," he said. "The guys worked so hard over the past three years. We have lots of three-year guys and we’ve been pushing for this for the last three years. It feels amazing to get here finally."
The Wolverines needed to beat the Falcons to secure the fifth and final playoff spot and they came out ready to play. The defence didn’t allow any points as Greendell scored on a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown and kicked a field goal that came after a botched snap on a Wolverine punt.
Brydges, who missed Westman’s last five games with a broken hand, led the defensive effort with three interceptions, one tackle and one assist. Brendynn Tuttosi added three tackles, one assist and one fumble recovery, while Ethan Jowett added four tackles for Westman.
Wolverines head coach Dave Stantial liked the way his defensive unit played on Saturday, and has for most of the season.
"We have a pretty strong defence," he said. "They know what they’re doing out there. Brendon Brydges, coming back for his first game after breaking his hand, was huge with three picks. It was great for him to come back in.
"Like I said, our defence has been pretty strong all year long and they got it done today."
Shayne Sebree rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns and Seth Hume was 11-for-22 passing for 222 yards and three touchdowns for the Wolverines. Kyle Pacheko caught four passes for 137 yards and one touchdown and also kicked two converts, while Westman’s Danton Nagorski caught two passes for 23 yards and scored on both plays.
Not only are the Wolverines feeling good about securing their first playoff berth, they are also now one of the hottest teams in the league — geared for junior-aged players from 18 to 22. The Wolverines started the season 0-4 but have now won four in a row.
The team feels like it can extend that streak to five this Saturday when it faces the St. James Rods (5-3) in the four-versus-five playoff game in Winnipeg.
The Wolverines not only want to earn revenge for their 28-1 loss to the Rods on Aug. 25, but also want to get even with the team that took the final playoff spot from them last season on a tiebreaker.
"We feel confident we’ll do pretty well in the playoffs," Stantial said. "We’ll have a good game against St. James. We didn’t play well against them (last time), but I think we can match up against them well."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 9, 2012