The Creighton Kodiaks special teams is usually their strength, but in Cumberland House on Sept. 25, it proved to be their downfall. The Kodiaks gave up two touchdowns on special teams - one on a fumble recovery during a punt return and the other on a kickoff return. Those 13 points would later be crucial as the Kodiaks lost to the Islanders 34-28, dropping to second place in the Northern Saskatchewan Football League Tier 1.
“It’s a big field and there's only six people out there and sometimes, one breakdown in the spacing can send the guy 80 yards,” Kodiaks head coach Ryan Karakochuk said.
“You’ve got to clean that up, but obviously the turnovers were a big story.”
Karakochuk said he was impressed with his team’s effort on the road, despite the end result.
“It would have been nice to beat Cumberland - the boys deserved the win in my eyes,” he said.
“I thought we were winning most of the game and we played a really strong game but they're a good team. We're a good team. There's going to be a battle next time and hopefully we get to do it again.”
The special teams touchdowns couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Kodiaks. The first was given up with only two seconds left in the second quarter, which turned a potential 17-8 halftime lead into a 17-14 lead. The return touchdown came right after the Kodiaks had scored to make it 28-20.
Each of Cumberland House’s touchdowns were scored by Kaydin Chaboyer.
“He's a beast,” Karakochuk said of Chaboyer.
“He is as advertised - as good as player as we've seen.”
The loss locked Creighton into second place, despite one more regular season game left on the calendar, a rematch in Creighton against Pinehouse Oct. 2. The Kodiaks won the first meeting of the season 67-12 in Pinehouse.
With second place locked up, Karakochuk said he’ll be looking to experiment and give some playing time to rookies during the Pinehouse game.
“We're going to play the starters for a half, then we're going to bring in all of our rookies sporadically throughout the second half, so everyone's going to play multiple downs,” he said.
“We're going to try some new things not so much worrying about the outcome against Pinehouse, but more so looking ahead to Sandy Bay and Cumberland and making sure that we fine tune what we need to fine tune.”
The Kodiaks will play Sandy Bay in a second place vs. third place matchup at home Oct. 9. Creighton will host the game, thanks beating Sandy Bay Sept. 18.
“That game against Sandy Bay was crucial when you look at the big picture,” Karakochuk said.
“If we beat Sandy Bay [in the playoffs], we should get a rematch with Cumberland and there's no home field advantage when you play it when you play in the final at Prince Albert. It's a it's a road game for both teams.”