Football games are won and lost in the trenches and that was definitely the case on Thursday afternoon at Gutheridge Field.
The Swift Current Colts controlled the line of scrimmage on offence and defence, and picked up a 20-6 win over the Vanier Vikings in the Moose Jaw High School Football League.
“Defensively, we know our front is pretty good, they're physical and they're veteran guys, so that's a big presence for us. Offensively, you can't run the ball successfully if you don't have those guys up front working hard,” said Colts head coach Derek Murdoch.
“We're blessed with some talented, big dudes and we're going to keep rolling behind them.”
The Colts improved to 2-4 on the year with their second straight win to end the regular, while the Vikings fall to 2-3 and will finish the year against the Raiders in Yorkton on Tuesday.
“It's been great to get a couple of wins at the end of the season, get us a nice playoff spot and hopefully we can keep pushing right through to the end of the season,” said running back Tristan Lockman
Lockman was able to wear down the Vikings' defence as he ran 24 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
On the other side, the Colts' defence was able to contain Vanier's running attack with Kelton Kouri managing just 78 yards on 23 carries.
“They're big and tough up front and after that first drive, they controlled the line of scrimmage on us,” said Vanier head coach Ryan Gottselig. “We missed a lot of blocks on the exterior, there was some space, but we just couldn't put enough blocks together to get anything sustained.”
Vanier opened the scoring on their first drive with quarterback Ryan Stefanovic finding receiver Paul Froehlich for a 27-yard touchdown. They tried for two, but were unsuccessful to make it 6-0.
The Colts took control of the game after that and tied the game with a four-yard score by Lockman less than a minute into the second quarter. Swift Current went in front just before halftime Kelton Dyck hauled in a 21-yard touchdown catch in the end zone for a 13-6 lead.
The ground game continued to control the game for the Colts in the second half as they worked the clock and eventually added some separation between them and the Vikings with a one-yard touchdown by Lockman with a minute to go in the third.
The defence held from there.
Vanier recovered a fumble on a punt deep in Swift Current territory, but quarterback Dalton Christansen, who also plays defensive back for the Colts, intercepted Stefanovic at the ten-yard line to end that threat.
“We switched up our entire offence,” said Lockman on what's sparked their late season charge. “We're running things different, getting a few more blocks in the back field and it's definitely helping for a lot more push.”
Vanier has now dropped two straight since their 2-1 start to the year and Gottselig said there's a number of areas that they need to clean up going into the regular season finale.
“We had tons of little mistakes, we missed a lot of blocks on offence, that needs to be fixed and defensively, we missed some coverages, blatantly not picking guys up when we're in man,” said Gottselig. “We're a young team and seem to be making a few more mistakes these last couple of weeks, so we've got to get our confidence back up and those things will come.”
In other Week 6 action, the Central Cyclones improved to 4-1 on the year with a 49-20 win over the 0-5 Elecs in Estevan.
The regular season closes on Tuesday with the undefeated Peacock Tornadoes heading to Estevan to face the Elecs and Central hosts the 2-3 Weyburn Eagles at Gutheridge Field. That game kicks off at 4:00pm.
The playoffs open next Saturday.