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Kodiaks earn spot in northern league final, can clinch first place with Wednesday win

Creighton’s high school football team guaranteed themselves a pair of playoff spots last week with a win. The team can clinch a home playoff game with a win Wednesday in Creighton.
S40 Creighton Football 2
Kodiaks player Marcus Kennedy and coach Ryan Karakochuk high-five in celebration during the Kodiaks’ home game against Cumberland House earlier this month.

Creighton’s high school football team guaranteed themselves a pair of playoff spots last week, picking up a big win against the Senator Myles Venne Huskies (SMVS).

The Creighton Community School Kodiaks picked up a 67-6 win against the team from Lac La Ronge Indian Band, ensuring Creighton will finish either first or second in the Northern Saskatchewan Football League’s (NSFL) regular season standings. The Kodiaks closed the game early, getting a 31-0 lead after one quarter and a 52-6 lead at halftime before swapping in younger players.

The Kodiaks are listed at 3-1 for the season, the only blemish being a forfeit of the team’s original home opener against SMVS last month - that game went into the record books as a 7-0 Kodiaks loss. Since then, the Kodiaks have run roughshod on the league, putting up well over 200 points in three games - an 81-0 road win against the debutant Ahtahkakoop Titans and a 68-20 win against the Charlebois Islanders from Cumberland House in Week 3.

The Kodiaks will face Cumberland House in the league final game - both Cumberland House (who play SMVS this week) and Creighton have 3-1 records, compared to their opponents’ 1-3 records. Both the Kodiaks and Islanders have already played (and won by large margins) against the same opponents.

Where the game will take place is still unknown as of press time - while the NSFL’s final for the Ralph Pilz Trophy is typically held in Prince Albert, this year’s game will be held in whichever community has the league’s best record. While nothing is guaranteed until the final whistle, if Creighton and Cumberland House both win their games, they will finish with 4-1 records - and since Creighton beat the Islanders, they would get home field advantage for the big game.

The same goes if both teams lose - neither Ahtahkakoop or SMVS can catch up in the standings, so if Creighton and Cumberland House both lose, they finish 3-2 and the Kodiaks still host due to the tiebreaker. If Creighton loses and Cumberland House wins, the final game shifts to the Islanders’ home field.

The last game of the regular season will be the Kodiaks playing in Creighton against Ahtahkakoop Oct. 13, starting at 4 p.m. (3 p.m. Saskatchewan time). After that, the league final game will be played - either in Creighton or Cumberland House - on Oct. 23.

“Our guys still have to play the game and they’ve been playing at a really good level and they’re getting better,” said Kodiaks head coach Ryan Karakochuk.

 

Conferences

The winner of the final game will get the Ralph Pilz Trophy and title of league champions, but both teams will leave with at least one win - both teams will qualify for provincial-level conference games, played against high school teams outside the north. No northern team has ever won one of these conference games, including the Kodiaks, who have lost the conference game after each of their league titles.

This season’s conference games will see the two teams play opponents from Conference 8 - Creighton, considered a 2A school, would likely play the Shellbrook Aardvarks in a conference game, while Cumberland House, a 1A school, would face the top-ranked 1A school in Conference 8, likely the Hafford Vikings. If either northern team makes history and wins, they’d move ahead to provincial six-man semifinals and would maintain home field advantage against the winner of a Conference 6 and Conference 7 matchup.

What the weather could look like in Creighton on Oct. 30 is anyone’s guess - something Karakochuk says his team must prepare for.

“This weather is always an X-factor in football. We know we’re playing in provincial games now and we’re excited about that, but what is the weather going to be like? Two years ago, we played in a blizzard, 60-80 kilometre an hour winds - you can’t throw the ball. You can’t punt the ball. We’ll see,” said the coach.

“Who knows - maybe we can [win]. Maybe this is the year we’re able to get over the hill and beat a southern team, but our goal is just to get better and get ready for the tough times ahead.”