Trojans fall to Spartans
PCI Trojans' Tyler Fedak with a diving effort in an attempt to take down a Spartan ball carrier during PCI's 43-29 loss Thursday evening at PCI Field. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)
Aaron Wilgosh - The Graphic/Herald Leader Contributor
A second-half collapse cost the home team the win.
The Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI) Trojans let a 14 point lead slip away in the second half of Thursday’s Winnipeg High School Football League matchup against the Neelin Spartans en route to a 43-29 loss. Penalties, poor coverage, and lack of effort all played a factor in the loss and head coach Donald Burrell shouldered most of the blame.
“Undisciplined plays and effort level is something I thought I had under control,” says Burrell. “We have a young team as far as coverage knowledge, and I just have to do a better job of teaching them how to play man to man. Our zone coverage hurt us too, but it really came down to the discipline on the field.”
The first half of the game was all PCI. The Trojans came out of the gate fast and fearless and it translated into a strong offence that scored early and often. Tyler Fedak ran the ball 20 yards for a touchdown, followed by a quarterback sneak from Tyler Morris to make it 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Neelin fought back to tie the game at 14 with a couple touchdowns of their own, both were passes where receivers got behind the PCI secondary. Morris would sneak one more into the Neelin endzone to take a 21-14 lead into half.
Things looked up to start the second half when Tyler Fedak returned the kickoff 60 yards for a touchdown right off the hop, but that’s all the Trojans had to celebrate about afterward. Neelin started picking apart the PCI secondary, moving the ball down the field quickly and easily. The Spartans managed to cut PCI’s lead to a single touchdown by the end of the third quarter and continued to control the play in the fourth.
The Spartans connected for a major at the start of the fourth quarter, and with a two-point conversion, made it 29-28 to take the lead. It looked like the Trojans were going to hold out for the tie after they scored a point on a missed field goal to deadlock it at 29, but Neelin threw for two more touchdowns in the final two minutes to put the game out of reach.
“We have some talent and we have to be able to move the ball downfield, and not throw it up for interceptions,” adds Burrell, speaking to the four interceptions Trojans’ quarterback Tyler Morris threw in the second half. “The first half was ours. We just got into the second half and undisciplined actions and poor execution cost us.”
The loss knocks the Trojans to 1-2 this season in the Kas Vidruk Division. The team travels to Dryden Thursday to take on the Eagles in a rematch of last year’s championship at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg where the Trojans were blanked 21-0.