The end result has the Peacock Tornadoes happy, but how they got there has left something to be desired.
The Tornadoes advanced into their fourth straight Moose Jaw High School Football League final with a 33-0 win over the Swift Current Colts in Saturday's semifinal at Gutheridge Field.
While the end score looks dominating, the Tornadoes had a number of uncharacteristic miscues in the game that has them looking for more heading into next week's league final.
“We did some good things, but we left a lot of stuff on the field – making mental mistakes and just doing stuff that you can't have in playoff time,” said head coach Blake Buettner. “It was a 33-0 win, but it doesn't really feel like a 33-0 win because I believe we can play better than that.”
The Colts managed just 67 yards on offence as the Tornadoes' defence stuffed their running attack at every angle. Peacock's offence however didn't have the cleanest day as they lost three fumbles and turned the ball over five times.
Big plays in the first half ended up saving the Tornadoes as they built up a 30-0 lead at halftime and then held off Swift Current in the second half.
“Swift's a tough opponent, it was a 3-0 half in the second half, they're a very good team,” said Buettner. “Our guys have got to refocus and get committed and have a great week.
“It was a lack of focus this week. You can't take anything for granted, we've had success, but we know that you have to play well to move on and that doesn't just show up on game day, it comes in practice, so we've got to practice crisper, we've got to be sharper, we need good leadership to be successful.”
Peacock opened the scoring with a safety after Swift Current fumbled the snap on their opening drive punt. They led 9-0 after the first quarter thanks to an eight-yard touchdown run by slotback Dawson Kurz.
Meko Cridland added to that lead early in the second quarter when he cut across the Colts' defence for a 34-yard catch and run score.
Two touchdowns for the Tornadoes in the final 1:08 made the score much lopsided than the play in the half.
Quarterback Park Andrews connected with receiver Joey Prebushewski for a nice 29-yard touchdown with 1:08 to go in the half and then with time expiring in the first half, defensive lineman Matthew Campbell picked off Colts' quarterback Dalton Christiansen and returned it 55 yards for a score.
Peacock kicker Josh Homister added a 25-yard field goal early in the third quarter to round out the scoring.
“We did some good things, second half we were real good defensively and did force some things, but it starts with if you're not moving the ball, you're not going to beat a team like this,” said Swift Current head coach Derek Murdoch, who's team was making a trip to the league final for the first time since 2009
“I'm proud of the guys, we battled and that's a good football, there's a reason why they haven't lost in three years. We thought we were going to come and play it a little closer, but tough start and just needed to move the ball.”
Colts' running back Tristan Lockman had been a big part of their late season success, but the Tornadoes defence was ready for him and held him to just 52 yards on 21 carries. Christiansen was the Colts' top rusher with 53 yards on four carries, he also threw for 60 yards on 4-of-12 passing.
“They have a lot of hard guys and they're a great group of guys, they work hard for what they want, so I'll be looking forward to seeing them again next year too,” said Peacock defensive end Griffin Barrett, who had three sacks and a safety in the win.
“They've got some big good linemen and that running back and they do some really good stuff, but our defence played solid, which was good and really helped us out, but we want to make sure we're solid in all three phases of the game,” added Buettner.
Running back Kyle Arndt was held out of the end zone, but finished with 22 carries for 169 yards in the win, while Andrews threw for 159 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 7-of-14 passing.
Peacock will now face Central in the league final next Saturday at Gutheridge Field after the Cyclones beat the Yorkton Raiders, 44-39, in the other semifinal.