Football teams don’t typically forget how many touchdowns they score in a game, but for the Creighton Kodiaks, exact numbers didn’t matter - all that’s certain is the team won big in their final regular season game Oct. 2.
According to the official scoresheet, the game ended up as a 74-12 win for the Kodiaks. In reality, official scorers missed a touchdown and convert - the game was actually an 82-12 win for Creighton.
If you were expecting the players and coach Ryan Karakochuk to care about the extra eight points, you’d be mistaken.
Even before the game, the Kodiaks were already pencilled in for second place in the four-team Northern Saskatchewan Football League Tier 1 and would host a home playoff game against Sandy Bay. Even if Pinehouse pulled out an upset win, the standings would remain the same on point difference. The two teams already played each other this year, with Creighton walking out of Pinehouse with a 67-12 win.
With playoff seedings assured, Karakochuk only suited up his standard starters for the first quarter of the game. That was enough time for the Kodiaks to open up a 30-6 lead, scoring on rushing touchdowns by Aidan Collard and Evan Madarash, a throw to Austin McLean in the endzone and a kick return by Myles Patterson.
After spinning the lineup slot machine, the Kodiaks finished the game with new faces all over the field.
“I thought they did great. I think they came in and they did what was asked of them,” Karakochuk said.
“There were some nerves, but we had a lot of guys who were playing a lot for the first time. The competition is going to get tough and it’s going to be hard to get them in - I’m really glad they got in half a game.”
Carson Straile received some touches at running back and returned punts and kickoffs, reeling off some big plays. Marcus Kennedy subbed off quarterback Blake Alexander and almost scored on a QB sneak, while Jacob Kuzmiak shone on defence and special teams. Grace Dubinak kicked through a pair of converts and did most of the second half kickoffs, while Jaxon Smith came in and put in work on the line.
“We have a bright future with them. We hope that they love the game and they’re here and they’re playing,” said the coach.
“Grace getting a round of applause when she kicked it 50 yards down off the tee, that’s going to stick out for me. Carson taking a kickoff about 60 yards, Marcus on his first quarterback sneak ran it from the 30 all the way down to the one. They came off the field with the biggest smiles on their faces. When they feel good about what they did, you know they’re going to be eager to come to practice tomorrow.”
Following the game, both teams shared a meal at Creighton Community School. Earlier this year during their first game in Pinehouse, community members treated the Kodiaks with dinner before the team took on the long drive home.
With the Pinehouse game in the rearview mirror, the focus for the Kodiaks will shift to Sandy Bay, Creighton’s first round playoff opponent. The Kodiaks, as the higher ranked team, will host the T-Wolves next week in a 2-vs-3 playoff Oct. 9. The winner of that game will go on to the Ralph Pilz Trophy game in Prince Albert to determine the league champion, facing the winner of undefeated reigning champs Cumberland House and Pinehouse. As is the custom in Saskatchewan high school football, the winners will also advance to conference play against southern opponents.
In the two teams’ sole matchup earlier this year, the Kodiaks went home with a 36-9 victory. FIlm of the game will be key in preparing for the rematch with the T-Wolves - particularly with two Sandy Bay players, Raddick Maguire and Matt McDonald.
“We’ll feel good about this until tomorrow, then we’ll know that this is just one of those games where they were weaker and we need to move past and get ready for a battle,” Karakochuk said.
“Sandy Bay’s bigger, they’re stronger. They know what we’ve done. We know what they’ve done. They’re going to come in here, it’s one game, winner-take-all and if we’re not ready and we make some mistakes, we could go home. We know they’re going to pass the ball. We know they’re going to be more physical. We need to match their intensity and be ready.”