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"For an opening game, things looked pretty good from front to back and from young to old," said Muskie head coach Shane Beckett.
"I like that they applied what we have been working on the last couple of weeks," noted Beckett.
"Their movement off the ball, their communication, their triangles off the ball were all good.
"Defensively, we worked on being good as the initial defender, and we were good from the Grade 9s up to the Grade 12s," he added.
The teams took part in a spontaneous penalty kick shootout after the final whistle for extra practice.
"You don't get an opportunity that often to do this when the season isn't on the line," Beckett remarked.
"It's good to be able to rehearse it a bit."
The Muskies head to Winnipeg for a tournament this weekend, with Fort High in the same pool as the St. John's-Ravenscourt Eagles and St. Paul's Crusaders.
"It's a pretty good pool to be in because I think we'll be evenly matched with both teams," Beckett predicted.
"The weather the last couple of years has meant we haven't gone," he added.
"In the first half, we were playing right with them and there were equal opportunities for both sides," noted Muskie head coach Shane Beckett.
"We had a little bit of a breakdown at the start of the second half on the first goal they scored, and you can't have any breakdowns against a team like them if you want to win," he stressed.
"Their second goal came after we had a mistimed kick that they were able to take control of and while we pushed hard and had a lot of chances to score, we lacked some polish around the goal.
"While we're disappointed that we didn't win," said Beckett.
"On the positive side, we know that we can play with the teams here as they [Cardinal Carter] were the top-seeded team coming in," he added.
"It was a neat experience for the kids, especially with the fact that we playing under the lights," noted Muskie assistant coach Shane Beckett.
"The stadium was set up pretty good with the temporary lights that they had, and despite the poor weather conditions, they got a good crowd on hand and they got to see a real good show," he added.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the contest, with the Eagles holding a 17-14 lead with just over five minutes to go in the fourth quarter and the Muskies finding themselves with a third down-and-eight situation near midfield.
"We started to have some problems moving the football near the end of the third quarter, and it continued on into the fourth quarter when we got into that part of the game," Beckett recalled.
"On that third-and-eight play, we called a fake punt and it worked like a charm as Aaron Kellar ran for about 35 yards on that play," he said.
"And the guys were able to pound the ball up the middle, with Colton Craig scoring the go-ahead touchdown with about three-and-a-half minutes to go.
"That put us up 20-17 at that point, and to be able to tack on that extra point was huge as that put Dryden down by four points," Beckett stressed.
With a lot of time to work with, Dryden marched towards the red zone-and nearly had quarterback Ryan Martel score on a scramble with a little over a minute to go.
That set the stage for a dramatic third-and-goal play with just 42 seconds on the clock.
"Their quarterback was scrambling again because of the pressure by our linebackers, and he threw the ball up towards the end zone," Beckett explained.
"But Braden Webb was right there to make his second pick of the game and he was able to run the ball out of the end zone, which allowed us to do a couple of kneel-downs and celebrate a victory."
Craig led the Muskies on offence, finding the end zone on three separate occasions.
"I said to him during the game that it looked like he was running angry at times," Beckett noted.
"He was going after guys all the time and he wasn't shying away from any contact, and he was just doing some good, hard running.
"One of the things that we preach to our guys is to be the hammer and not the nail, and he was certainly doing that on Friday," Beckett noted.
It's often said that any football game is won by the work in the trenches, and Beckett also was quick to point out the play of both the offensive and the defensive lines was key to the victory.
"The offensive line was making holes for Colton and Harley [Mainville] to run through and our defensive line was plugging up the holes to prevent their running backs from getting major yardage," Beckett said.
"One guy who had a great game and doesn't get noticed all that often was our left defensive end Justin Whitecrow.
"He was a silent hero for us out there by forcing their running backs to the inside and into traffic," Beckett lauded.
The black-and-gold will look to continue their momentum tomorrow afternoon in Winnipeg when they take on the St. John's Tigers (1-5) in a game that will help determine who the Muskies will face in the quarter-finals next week.
"If we get a win there, along with a Dryden loss [to St. Norbert today], that would put us against St. Norbert in the first round, which would be a better match-up for us than facing a team like Sisler or Daniel Mac," Beckett stressed.
"Right now we have two wins on the season, and since I've been here at the school, I haven't seen a team with two wins, which is great for the program," he added.
Joseph's] were able to capitalize on their chances and we didn't, which has been the story of our week," Muskie coach Shane Beckett lamented from Windsor.
"We out-chanced them by about a 10-to-1 margin, but their goalie was able to make four gigantic saves, including one that was right on the goal line," he added.
"Then just before the end of the first half, their best player was able to get a chance on net and he scored an absolutely ridiculous goal to give them the lead."
Having lost their first two games of the tournament yesterday, Fort High needed to win out on today and also get some help from the other teams in their pool in order to advance to the playoff round.
"We needed to have the team from Windsor [Kennedy Clippers] lose both of their games in order to have a shot," Beckett explained.
"But they throttled Timmins 6-0, so at that point we knew it was pretty much over," he remarked.
After opening play with a 2-1 loss to fifth-ranked St. Paul (Mississauga) yesterday morning, the Muskies were blanked 4-0 that afternoon by the host Clippers, who entered the 20-team tournament as the defending champs.
"That was the best team that I ever coached against," Beckett said of the Clippers.
"Our guys never gave up and battled right with them for the first 15 minutes," Beckett noted.
"But Kennedy was able to figure out our system right after that, and they showed exactly why they are the defending provincial champions."
The Muskies at least will look to finish the tournament on a winning note when they will take on Timmins, also winless at 0-3, at 2 p.m. (EDT).
"After losing two games we felt we should have won [St.
Paul and St. Joseph's], there's a really bad taste in the guys' mouths right now, especially with the senior players," Beckett admitted.
"In those games we felt that we were the better team, so if we can continue to play like that, we should be fine against a short-staffed team in the Flames," he reasoned.
"It was a tremendously unlucky result as we dominated the game," Muskie head coach Shane Beckett said from Windsor.
"We had a penalty shot which was extremely debatable as to [whether] the ball had gone over the goal line or not, we hit a couple of posts, and had two really dangerous free kicks.
"But in the end we just gave it away," he sighed.
After giving up a goal on a transition play late in the first half, Jameson Shortreed knotted things up early in the second half.
But the tie didn't last for long as a miscue by Fort High caused them to lose the lead a few minutes later.
"We made an errant throw-in and they [St.
Paul] were able to get the ball in the final third of the field," Beckett explained.
"All they had to do was make a couple of touches, and they were able to score and retake the lead."
The black-and-gold didn't have long to dwell on their opening setback.
They were back on the pitch this afternoon at 3 p.m. (EDT) against the host Kennedy Clippers.
The outcome wasn't known as of press time.
"They are the defending champions so we know that they are going to be a really strong team," Beckett noted.
"But I think the guys should really come out hungry after our loss this morning since we know that we can play with the top-ranked teams here," he reasoned.
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