The Peacock Tornadoes are the team to beat in the Moose Jaw High School Football League and they showed why again on Friday afternoon at Gutheridge Field.
Kyle Arndt scored five touchdowns for the Tornadoes in a 35-11 win over the Central Cyclones in a battle for first place in the league. Peacock sits at 4-0, while Central drops to 3-1.
This was the second straight game that Arndt found the end zone five times as he now leads the league with 15 touchdowns on the year. He accounted for all 35 points for the Tornadoes in the win.
“Thanks to coach for giving me the ball and my offensive line leading the way, it's been awesome,” said Arndt, who finished with 26 carries for 278 yards on a day dominated by the ground game thanks to a strong wind.
Peacock quarterback Park Andrews completed just two passes, both to Arndt for 32 yards, but the Tornadoes were able to pound out 340 yards on the ground for the win.
The experienced offensive line for Peacock ended up being the difference.
“We've got the same o-line as we did last year, they're awesome, Maguire (Abell) has been starting centre since grade nine, plays for Team Sask, so we've got him pulling on all of our plays and he's leading the way for me,” said Arndt. “I'll be ten yards down field and I'll see Maguire, it's just awesome.”
Abell said everyone on the line has a lot of confidence in each other and trust each other to do their job, which makes it easy.
“We have a lot of chemistry this year, we're all good friends, we've known each other for so many years and that's something that we've tried to focus on early, just going out for lunch together, watching film, doing everything together, we're a unit out there and it's starting to show,” he said.
“Our rushing game was good today, that's what's carried us so far and we've got to keep focusing on that and getting better every day.”
The game was much closer than the score may have indicated as Central had a number of chances to get momentum on their side, but just couldn't find a way to capitalize.
“Every time we kind of got things rolling, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” said Central head coach Colin Belsher after the loss. “Hats off to them, they're a great team and great teams force you into making mistakes and that's what happened today.
“I certainly don't think they're unbeatable, we have to play a really good game against a really good team in Peacock and we're going to get another shot at them and make some adjustments and hopefully the score is flipped for us.”
The wind slowed down the offence for both teams in the first half with Peacock taking a 14-3 lead into halftime as neither team could really get rolling offensively.
Central finished with just 14 total rushing yards, Zach Hagerman was held in check with eight carries for 20 yards. Quarterback Ryan Reidy found some room to throw with the wind, completing 5-of-11 passes for 123 yards with one interception, which came right at the goal line late in the second quarter.
“The wind limited us, Peacock likes to play tight man coverage and to try to throw the ball into the wind was a very difficult thing to do as a team,” said Belsher. “We've got a lot to work on and we just want to get better every game as we go.
“Our guys played hard right until the end, but the outcome just wasn't what we wanted.”
Central opened the scoring with a 41-yard field goal by Levi Kelly on their first drive, but Peacock would answer right back with a long drive capped off by a nine-yard touchdown run by Arndt.
Arndt scored again midway through the second quarter and then a fumble by Central on the opening kick-off of the second half allowed Peacock to open up an 18-point cushion thanks to another Arndt touchdown.
Central cut the lead to 21-11 with 6:52 to go in the third quarter thanks to a safety by defensive lineman Jaden Baumann and a 63-yard touchdown catch by Aiden Coleman, but that was as close as Peacock allowed them to get, finishing off the win with two more scores for Arndt.
Peacock will have another tough test in Week 6 with the Yorkton Raiders coming to Gutheridge Field on Wednesday, while Central travels to Estevan on Thursday.