Trojans bow out of WHSFL semis
PCI Quarterback Tyler Morris completes a pass versus St. Paul's in the Trojans final home game of the WHSFL 2017 season. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)
A loss that sums up the season.
Portage Collegiate Institute fell 40-12 to Kildonan East last week in the semifinal game of the Winnipeg High School Football League Vidruk/Currie Playoffs to wrap up their 2017 season.
“We haven't dealt with adversity well all year, and it showed in the game,” says Donald Burrell, who took over as Trojans head coach at the beginning of the season. “We didn't shake a bad start quick enough, we weren't tackling well, and we just weren't doing the normal things we do well. The kids kept playing, though, played hard and never gave up, but never really got into that PCI groove.”
It was a frustrating start to the semifinal as PCI stood confused on the opening kickoff, allowing East Kildonan to recover and score right off the bat. Burrel says it really caught the special teams off guard because the players didn't know it was still a live ball. He says from there it slowly got better, but the Trojans never really found their footing.
“The games we were successful in we got up early and held on thanks to great goalline stands and other things that kept us in high spirits and motivated,” adds Burrell. “The semifinal game was kind of indicative of our whole season where we didn't start off well but we played strong and finished hard.”
Overall PCI finished 3-4 through the regular season, winning one playoff game over Elmwood to advance to the semis at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg. It wasn't the season Burrell wanted – undefeated and playing for the championship – but there were many good things that came out of the campaign. He says a lot of the team’s younger players stepped up and filled key spots in the line-up when starters went down with injury or illness.
“We're losing a lot of seniors to graduation,” adds Burrell. “I made sure (the seniors) got out for our last home game and I couldn't believe how there were. We have 12 players graduating this year, and I hate saying it, but it's going to be a rebuild next season.”
The Trojans will be losing a good portion of their offensive and defensive lines, which means size. Burrell says it's something he'll have to work hard to replace in the off season. The Trojans awards night and wind-up is Wednesday, November 22.