Paul Kane is 5-0 as team to beat in Miles conference football
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 05, 2013 06:00 am
Clarke Park – The Paul Kane Blues refused to lose for the second-straight game while trailing on the scoreboard.
The undefeated Miles conference football team roared back from a 14-6 deficit in the second quarter with 50 unanswered points en route to the 63-21 win over the McNally Tigers (3-2) Thursday a week after falling behind 12-0 in the opening six minutes against the Ardrossan Bisons (3-1) before tacking up 43 consecutive points on its way to the 43-20 victory.
“Overall it was a good game today. We had a rough start but by the second half we picked up everything and executed our blocks and made our tackles,” said Kieran Porter, a Grade 11 running back who churned out three touchdowns against McNally. “Once we get our minds into it at the very start, like we do in the second half, we’ll be good.”
Head coach Rob Strecker addressed the team’s shortcomings in the post-game huddle.
“There is one serious problem we need to overcome. Our starts have been really slow in the last couple of games and after these next two games (against the O’Leary Spartans and Leduc Tigers) and the playoffs start we can’t have these starts again,” Strecker stressed. “For some reason it seems like I’m the only guy who is nervous before games. Some of you guys are just thinking it’s too easy and when you look at the scoreboard it is easy but that’s two games in a row now where we’ve been down by double digits.”
Stumbling out of the chute is the only downfall for the otherwise near perfect 5-0 Blues, ranked fifth provincially in Tier II (750 to 1,249 students).
“It’s awesome right now,” said Julian Pawlychka, a Grade 10 outside linebacker and left tackle. “There’s glory that's coming. We have hopes.”
A Miles championship in only the third season of Paul Kane football would secure the second Tier II provincial berth in the metro Edmonton league. The Austin O’Brien Crusaders, ranked fourth as the only Tier II team in the Carr conference, is guaranteed a provincial spot.
If the metro reps win their respective Tier II north semifinals Nov. 9 on the road they would clash in the Nov. 16 north final in Edmonton for the right to compete in the Alberta Bowl on Nov. 23 in Calgary.
“Everything is falling into place, just like we’ve planned. The season is going to go good,” Porter said of the team to beat in Miles. “It’s everything we’ve worked for, right from training camp on the very first day. We want to win every game.”
In the first quarter, on the second drive by the Blues, a questionable fumble recovery by McNally at the Paul Kane 37 after it looked like Greg Fleming was tackled after gaining a first down led to a 29-yard endzone catch by the Tigers.
On the next series, the Blues turned the ball over on downs and McNally moved the sticks until Nolan Florence sacked the quarterback for a nine-yard loss back at the Paul Kane 41.
Tyler Turner fielded the ensuing punt and weaved his way 81 yards behind a wall of blockers to McNally’s 18 to end the quarter. On the fourth play of the drive, on third and goal, quarterback Cory Knott went six yards up the gut.
On the kickoff McNally’s most dangerous player, Connor Mickie, scampered 74 yards to put the Tigers back on top.
The Blues answered with a 23-yard TD strike by Knott, operating behind great pass protection, and an equally impressive catch by Frankie White behind double coverage in the endzone. A 30-yard dash by Porter on the play before put the Blues in scoring position.
Turner’s two-point conversion reception from Knott evened the count at 14.
The next time on offence, the Blues marched the ball from McNally’s 30, but on second down at the eight Knott was picked off in the endzone and Graham Loerke made the TD-saving tackle at the Paul Kane 54. It was only the third pick thrown by Knott this season.
The Blues stood tall defensively to force McNally to go two-and-out.
After the teams exchanged punts, McNally was forced to kicked the ball from its 37 and Pawlychka powered his way through the line to block the attempt and the ball was recovered at the three.
“I just busted through guys. I never got touched even because I just ripped through,” Pawlychka said. “After I blocked the punt I was going to pick it up hoping for a touchdown and then I got blocked from behind and pushed down but my buddy Thompson (Clark) was able to retrieve it.”
On first down Porter scored untouched and Knott hit Theo Block for two points with 2:24 left until halftime.
Porter’s second TD, a hard-pounding run from the 17, was set up by Turner’s 37-yard punt return with 90 seconds remaining.
A penalty wiped out Knott’s 47-yard TD run with 7.2 seconds on the clock and on the last play before the break Turner was unable to make a basket catch in the endzone.
Pawlychka, 15, said it was only a matter of time before the Blues got back on track.
“At the start it was tough to bust through a bit but it always seems like we just pick ourselves up because of all the hard work and cardio and planning we’ve done,” said the former bantam St. Albert 49er.
There was no stopping the explosive Blues in the second half. Knott’s 71-yard TD gallop on the second play from scrimmage was his 11th to lead the conference.
Loerke added a pick-six with a 65-yard interception return.
Porter’s third TD, a one-yard plunge, was the eighth of the season for the bruising back. Going into the game his 350 yards on 56 carries ranked third in the conference. Knott was the top rusher with 519 yards on 39 carries.
“My blockers are giving me my runs so I’ve got to thank them for that,” said Porter, 16, the junior Blues’ nominee for the Grant Yuzyk Award as the metro league’s MVP in 2012.
In the fourth quarter Turner’s interception at the Paul Kane 27 led to a long bomb from Knott down the pipe to the lightning-quick White for 83 yards. It was Knott’s conference-high 12th TD completion. His 853 yards on 57 completions out of 102 attempts ranked second in the Miles.
McNally turned a screen pass into a 14-yard TD and Fleming rumbled 37 yards to pay dirt to close out the scoring.
Knott finished 5-for-7 kicking converts.
The next game is Friday versus O’Leary (2-2) at 5 p.m. at Clarke Park. Admission is $5.