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Vikings wrap regular season at 3-0-1

Hammarskjold will enter the SSSAA junior football playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
Ewan Reid Jack Popowich
Hammarskjold's Ewan Reid tries to find a way past Westgate's Jack Popowich on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 at Fort William Stadium. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – The Hammarskjold Vikings haven’t won a junior football championship in 12 years.

The players on this year’s squad were barely out of diapers the last time it happened. But the past is the past and for this Vikings team, it’s full steam ahead.

Hammarskjold wrapped up a 3-0-1 regular season on Thursday, doubling the resurgent third-place Westgate Tigers 28-14 at Fort William Stadium, a sneak preview of next week’s Superior Secondary Schools Athletic Association 2-3 semifinal.

Owen Renn led the way for the Vikings, opening the scoring in the second quarter with a seven-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Taylor Main, then rumbled down the field for 64 yards and another score with just two seconds to go until halftime to give Hammarskjold a commanding 21-0 lead heading into the break.

“I think I played a good game tonight,” Renn said. “Our defence, like always, kept us in it. I had a couple of nice runs. The offence felt good today.”

Renn’s second score caught the Tigers off guard, coming with next to no time on the clock.

“We had our burst to the weak side and there was not much room, but I made a nice fake and we went up the sidelines. No one really saw it coming. It was a nice run.”

The Tigers (1-3-0), who last week won for the first time in five years, showed they could be a force to be reckoned with in a one-game showdown, refusing to quit despite going down by three scores after two quarters.

Not surprisingly, it was Parker Mork who helped lift Westgate back into contention. And he didn’t wait long after the break to do it, tearing down the field on the opening kickoff for an 86-yard return for a touchdown.

However, Hammarskjold had an answer early in the fourth, Gabe Stieh racing 49 yards for a major, restoring the Vikings 21-point lead with just over nine minutes to play.

Mork was at it again later in the period, rushing one in from 18 yards out and then kicking the extra point to make it 28-14 at 6:54 of the fourth.

The  Vikings offence took over and chewed the clock, marching down the field before ultimately kneeling inside the Westgate five to end the contest.

 Keeping that winning form alive heading into next week’s semifinal was key, said Hammarskjold coach Matt Steele.

“We were looking to build on a lot of positives, just good behaviour, good habits, looking to make sure we’re prepared for next week as we do know we’ll have a tough task in front of us playing a really well-coached Westgate Tigers football team,” Steele said. “So we wanted to make sure we’re prepared on both sides of the ball.”

The two teams played a scoreless first, neither team marching beyond their opponent’s 35-yard-line.

Isaac Magill, who keyed the opening score with a 35-yard run, scored himself on a 19-yard-dash with two minutes to go in the second, then ran in the two-point conversion to make it 14-0 Hammarskjold at the time.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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