THUNDER BAY – The Hammarskjold Vikings and St. Ignatius Falcons have pretty good ground games, at least between the 20s.
Getting it over the goal line proved difficult for the two senior football squads on Friday night. Each side scored once on the ground and the two teams settled for a 7-7 tie at Fort William Stadium.
Falcons running back Quinton Dawd capped a 16-play, 79-yard scoring drive with a one-yard plunge into the end zone, the game’s second and final major coming with just 12 seconds to go until halftime.
Gerald Marshall put up the only points the Vikings could manage in the defensive battle, opening the scoring in the second on a two-yard run, a drive that saw Hammarskjold quarterback Taylor Main connect with Jake Kuzik for 31 yards on the Vikings first play of the second quarter, then for another 11 yards moments later to push the ball into St. Ignatius territory.
St. Ignatius running back Jaden Belcamino finished with 16 carries for 85 yards and said the offensive line did a superb job blocking for him and his fellow running backs.
“They pretty much do all the work. I just run through people,” he said.
“A game like that, low-scoring and it’s won in the trenches. I think our O-line did a pretty good job of that, piling on all the hits and stuff.”
Both teams had troubles hanging on the ball at different points of the contest, the second straight tie for the Falcons, who tied defending SSSAA champion St. Patrick 14-14 in Week 1.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Vikings first drive, Fighting Saints punt returner Nolan Porier looked up too soon and muffed the catch, the Vikings Zach Pedlow pouncing on the loose ball to give St. Ignatius the ball on the St. Ignatius 41.
Alas the Vikings went three-and-out again.
Quarterback Lucas Dupuis was picked off by Hammarskjold’s Nolen Sloan on the Falcons first possession of the second quarter and the Vikings opened their next drive with a 31-yard pass from Main to Kuzik that moved the ball past midfield.
They’d continue deep into the red zone
Main took to the air again, connecting with Johnson for and ultimately handed the ball to Marshall who took it home through a crowd from the two-yard line to give Hammarskjold the only lead of the day, 7-0.
Late in the fourth the Falcons Caleb Blaine had a 27-yard field goal attempt blocked and the two teams remained deadlocked. Hammarskjold marched the ball to midfield on the final possession of the night, but stalled out when back-to-back Main passes bounced off the turf. Marshall made a last-ditch effort, but was tackled on the Falcons 33 after a gain of 14 as the clock ran out.
Hammarskjold coach Mike Judge said it was a bit of a war of attrition out there.
“It was old-time football. They did a great job in the trenches. St. Ignatius gave us a tough time in there. It was tough to get first downs tonight,” Judge said.
“It was one of those ones where field possession was huge.”
Judge pointed to their game-ending drive, that started on their own 15-yard line.
“Really, it’s a lot of credit to the O-line on that last drive, just getting out of our own end. If we have to turn it over there on a punt, we’re probably losing on a single. It was a big drive for us to run the clock out,” he said.
Westgate 22, St. Patrick 4: Lance Basalyga rushed for three touchdowns, including a pair in the fourth quarter to lead the Tigers to victory. Basalyga scored on runs of one, two and 27 yards for the Tigers.