On Saturday November 1 through Sunday November 2, Football Manitoba hosted their championship weekend event at Investor’s Group Field in Winnipeg. Read the game summaries for the provincial championships below.
Photo credit: Football Manitoba
Fort Garry Lions win Majors Championship
The Lions continue their dominance on their way to a back-to-back championship
By Corey Weir
The Fort Garry Lions won the Manitoba Major Football League title with a 20-12 victory over the St. Vital Mustangs Saturday night at Investors Group Field. Lions running back Jordan Birrell rushed for 183 yards and touchdown to guide Fort Garry to its second-straight title. The Lions defeated the East Side Eagles in the 2013 title game.
Watching these two teams play for the first time, an observer wouldn’t guess they finished the season series with the Fort Garry Lions shutting out the St. Vital Mustangs 69-0. The first game came on Aug. 23, when the Lions dominated the Mustangs by a score of 41-0. Granted that was only the Mustangs’ second game of the year, but on Sept. 12, the Lions dominated once again winning by a score of 28-0.
At the half Saturday though, it was a totally different story. The Mustangs were able to hold the Lions scoreless, but were unable to post any points of their own, as it was 0-0 going into the third quarter.
“We knew we could do it was just a matter of getting everyone settled down and just do it,” said Fort Garry Lions head coach David Hasselfield. “The defence was cruising along with what they did, offence had to put it in, they did put it in a bit better and it was good, made a couple of adjustments to make it work and the Mustangs made a couple of adjustments that stopped us it really was a great game.”
The first points of the game came early in the third quarter when Mustangs running back Sean Seifer ran in a 1-yard touchdown to give the Mustangs a 6-0 lead.
It wouldn’t take the Lions very long to respond, as Birrell added to his massive day on the ground, running in an 18-yard touchdown. The extra point made it 7-6 for the Lions.
Early in the fourth quarter, Lions quarterback Christof Hasselfield called his own number and ran in a 1-yard touchdown to make it 14-6.
“I felt like we started to hit our stride (in the second half) and things were eventually going to pop open,” the Lions quarterback said. “We’ve been winning most games on our pass game but we knew all along we could fall back on the run and Jordan Birrell killed it today.”
ATOM FINALS – GREENDELL FALCONS VS. ST. VITAL MUSTANGS
St. Vital Mustangs ride unbeaten streak to a championship
By Corey Weir
The St. Vital Mustangs won the Atom championship by a score of 47-16 over the Greendell Falcons Sunday morning at Investors Group Field. The Atom game was part of Football Manitoba’s two-day Championship Weekend event.
Mustangs quarterback Morgan Lawson was the standout on offence, guiding the team to several scoring drives.
The last time the Mustangs won in the Atom division was back in 2011, when interestingly enough Lawson’s brother was at the helm for the Mustangs. The standout player for the Falcons today was linebacker Hugh Montgomery.
The Mustangs were dominant from the opening whistle, leading at the half by a score of 38-8. The Mustangs high-powered offence could do no wrong, scoring in many different ways, most notably from the arm of Lawson.
“This was my first time ever winning,” said quarterback Lawson. “Last year we didn’t do so well, but this year I’m pretty happy about making it this far.”
The second half proved to be much of the same, as the Mustangs were the first team to score after the half, making it 44-8 for the Herd. They added three more points to the board in the win.
“Great game today, they played hard like every game, (it was a) team effort,” said St. Vital Mustangs head coach Andrew Lawson. “We practice three days a week, the boys come out, they listen, great coaching staff, great organization.”
PEEWEE FINAL – ST. VITAL MUSTANGS VS. EAST SIDE EAGLES
St. Vital Mustangs win by four in the Peewee Championship
By Corey Weir
The St. Vital Mustangs won the Peewee Championship 16-12 over the East Side Eagles Sunday Afternoon at Investors Group Field. The Peewee game was part of Football Manitoba’s two-day Championship Weekend event.
The Eagles struck first, putting six points on the board. However, Mustangs running back and game MVP Tanner Frobisher quickly responded with a touchdown to give the Herd an 8-6 lead.
The Mustangs led 16-6 at half time before Eagles running back Timothy Jessie ran in a touchdown to make it 16-12 in the third quarter. The final drives of the game suggested a possible comeback for the Eagles, but the Mustangs were able to fend them off for the win.
“We did pretty good, they were really good, their defence played a hell of a game,” said Mustangs quarterback Trent Thornton. “I’m surprised we were able to keep them off this long.”
The Eagles defensive standout was Charles Trey Peterson III, who made numerous tackles throughout the afternoon.
These teams met one other time this season back on Sept. 14, when the Mustangs handed the Eagles a 36-6 beating.
“We pushed them all year and they’ve delivered all year,” said Mustangs head coach Paul Weekes. “We do a lot of work in the fourth quarter drills to be ready for the end of the game and I think that showed in the last drive, stay focused and no mistakes.”
BANTAM FINALS – NORTH WINNIPEG NOMADS VS. ST. VITAL MUSTANGS
The Mustangs stamp out the Nomads in Bantam Final
By Corey Weir
The St. Vital Mustangs won the Bantam Championship 38-26 over the North Winnipeg Nomads Sunday evening at Investors Group Field. The Nomads were reigning champions from last but the Mustangs had won the year prior. The Bantam game was part of Football Manitoba’s two-day Championship Weekend event.
The Mustangs lead at half 22-12. The Nomads linebacker Mason Cespe was a standout on defence with many tackles in the half.
“It was a good team effort and we put in the hard work for it,” said Mustangs quarterback Reid Vankoughnett. “We have a good team, they have a good team and things happen and we ended up being the better team in the end.”
These two teams are no strangers to each other, they tied 30-30 back on Sept. 14. But on Sept. 28, the Mustangs got the upper hand on the Nomads shutting them out by a score of 11-0. The Mustangs handed the Nomads their only loss on the season.
“They’re a good team, they have some good players and we just used that for motivation,” said Mustangs head coach Dave Vankoughnett. “We’ve had two tough games with them already this year, we knew what kind of battle we were in for.”
MIDGET FINAL – ST. VITAL MUSTANGS VS. TRANSCONA NATIONALS
Transcona Nationals win Midget game thriller over St. Vital Mustangs
By Corey Weir
The Transcona Nationals won the 2014 PlayAll Awards Midget Football Championship a 7-6 thriller over the St. Vital Mustangs Sunday night at Investors Group Field. The Midget title match – the concluding contest of Football Manitoba’s two-day Championship Weekend event – came down to the game’s final play.
With only eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and with the ball on their 53-yard line, Mustangs quarterback Joshua Jamieson completed a pass to teammate William Evans-Murphy, who took the ball down to the Nationals six-yard line before being tackled as time expired.
“The first half we shot ourselves in the foot, a lot of mental mistakes,” said Transcona head coach Steve Hoel immediately following the game. “It’s been 10 years for the Nationals, this group of kids we came together as a family, it’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Unlike the high-scoring games these teams have had in the past (35-14 Nationals – Aug. 15 and 21-16 Mustangs – Sept. 13), this game was a defensive showdown between the two sides. The Mustangs lead 3-0 at the half.
Midway through the third quarter, Nationals quarterback Adam Gorzen drove his team down the field, only to be intercepted by Evans-Murphy to keep the score at 3-0 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Nationals trailed the entire game until running back Brandon Urciuoli ran in a 5-yard touchdown to put them up 7-6. Urciuoli was awarded offensive player of the game based on that score and 94 rushing yards.
“Couldn’t have done that without my teammates, just great blocking by the whole team,” said Urciuoli. “I can’t describe how happy I am.”