Trojans down Plainsmen
Trojans QB Tyler Morris stands in the pocket under pressure during Week One of the WHSFL regular season.
Aaron Wilgosh - Daily Graphic/Herald Leader Contributor
Sometimes the best offence is a strong, aggressive, and hungry defence.
The Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI) Trojans varsity football team proved just that, and as a result, are winners thanks to their 9-1 road victory over the Crocus Plains Plainsmen Thursday night in Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL) action.
“We started making a statement on the opening kickoff return,” says Trojans’ head coach, Donald Burrell. “Middle linebacker Avery Spence went down and made a hard hitting tackle that actually hurt the returner and he had to leave the game. We set the tone at that stage that it was going to be a physical game and that’s what it turned out to be.”
Portage got on the board first thanks to a Tyler Fedak touchdown. The Grade 12 student ran a great reverse and managed to fight his way into the end zone, and with the extra point the Trojans led 7-0. The Plainsmen picked up their one and only point a short while into the second quarter when Fedak was unable to return a missed field goal out of the Trojan endzone.
PCI’s final two points of the match came before the end of the first half as well. Quarterback Tyler Morris connected with receiver Justice Flett on a deep ball and he was brought down on the four yard line. This time it was Crocus’ defence who stood tall, as they forced a turnover on downs at the one. PCI’s defenders went to work, immediately sacking the Plainsmen quarterback for a safety to make it 9-1. The second half was scoreless but saw several big stops by the PCI defensive unit. The Plainsmen had several chances in the red zone but the Trojans’ defence was equal to the task each time.
Burrell says stops like those are a huge confidence boost for the team on both sides of the ball.
“When you’re on the one yard line, I don’t care what league you’re in, you make a great defensive stand and it builds confidence," he adds. "I think (in Week One), we didn’t play all four quarters. This game, we put together a full game and it makes a difference. I think we’re going to do that going forward here and this win gives us some confidence.”
Up next for the Trojans is the Neelin Spartans, who Burrell says, have a very strong quarterback. Dayton Black, standing 6-foot-5, can do a lot - as he plays quarterback and defensive end while also handling the team's kicking duties.
"We’re going to spend a lot of time as a coaching staff trying to determine ways to not let his feet or his arm hurt us because he can throw it and he’s a physical presence,” adds Burrell. “I think we’re going to have to come out with the same defensive effort we had against Crocus Plains to pull out a win.”
The Trojans and Spartans are at PCI Field in Portage Thursday afternoon, kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m.