Linebacker T.J. Simpson and the Wolverines will be looking to earn a spot in the Manitoba Major Football League final today. (FILE PHOTO)
The Westman Wolverines are hoping to make the best of their second chance.
After their Manitoba Major Football League loss to the Fort Garry Lions a week ago, the Wolverine players turned in all their equipment thinking they had missed the playoffs. However, the league used a different tiebreaking scenario than what the team expected and awarded the Wolverines the fourth and final spot in the post-season.
The players got all their equipment back at practice this week and they are pumped about the opportunity to play for at least one more week.
"They were very enthused about practice, especially Thursday’s practice," Wolverines head coach Dave Stantial said. "It was very enthusiastic at practice. They worked hard and they learned the new stuff we’re trying to get going and they’re excited about this opportunity."
While the players are stoked, they know today’s semifinal against the host East Side Eagles will be a challenge. The Eagles were a perfect 7-0 this season and shut out the Wolverines 34-0 when they met in Winnipeg on Aug. 31.
However, Stantial feels that game could have been very different if one call had gone their way. Near the end of the first half, the Wolverines (4-3) felt they had crossed the goal-line on a short run, but the referees ruled the Westman player fumbled the ball before breaking the plane. That score would have given the Wolverines a lead at the break, but instead they came out flat in the second half — allowing the opening kickoff to be returned for a score — and lost.
While he feels the Wolverines have an opportunity to advance to the league final for the first time in the team’s history, Stantial knows it will take a substantial effort from his players to make it a reality.
"We just have to play our best game," he said.
"We’ve got a couple things that we’re going to try out this game and play all three facets of the game well. There’s no secret to the Eagles. They’re a very good team. They play all three facets of the game very well and we have to match that. That’s the only thing we can do."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 19, 2013