Starting the season 2-0 and riding high, the St. Paul Regional Lions came into the third game of the season with high hopes and higher expectations. But on a chilly and gloomy Friday evening, hose hopes were dashed as they clashed with the seemingly immovable force that the Lloydminster Comprehensive High School Barons proved to be. The Lions fell early to the Barons’ strong offense and were unable to put up any points on the board, being shut out 38-0.
Lloydminster kicked things off, literally, with a field goal on their first drive of the game to take an early 3-0 lead. St. Paul’s first drive of the evening was halted early, with the Barons gaining a turnover on downs at their own 55-yard line. On the very next play, the Lloydminster quarterback threw a gorgeous 30-yard pass that was caught easily at the 25 yard line. The receiver ran into the red zone before being stopped at about the five. A quick toss on the next play allowed the Barons’ Stephen Bailey to catch the ball in the end zone, scoring Lloydminster’s first touchdown of the night and giving them a 10-0 lead after the PAT.
Things only got worse for the Lions in the second quarter. Despite several fantastic running plays, including a 60-or-more-yard run by Owen Breast, St. Paul just couldn’t manage to get the ball into real scoreable range. Their best chance in the quarter came on an early drive with found them at third and five, but the Barons defense stood tall, forcing a turnover on downs.
The Barons added three more touchdowns during the second quarter, bringing the score to 31-0.
St. Paul played a much stronger game in the second half, especially in regards to their defense. They held the Barons to just one touchdown in the last two quarters, and even made a final brilliant attempt to avoid a shutout in the closing minutes of the game. Hank Rogal received a pass that went well over 60 yards, but he was stopped just shy of the end zone. Breast attempted a running play immediately afterwards but the clock expired, sounding the end of the game and finalizing the 38-0 shutout for Lloydminster Comprehensive.
“We played a great and very experienced team tonight,” said coach Mark Tichkowsky, who didn’t let the loss affect his trademark good mood and positive attitude. “Lloyd had some really solid players, you know? Their quarterback played for Team Alberta, and so did Number Ten [Nathan Zacharias] and Number Two [Matthew Morin], so it’s a pretty tough team to come up against.
Tichkowsky says that following a hard loss like Friday’s, the key for the Lions will be to learn from their mistakes and rebound:
“Our job now is to watch some game film, see what we need to improve on, and remember that next week is just that – a new week with a new game and a new team to play. We can’t get hung up on a game like tonight’s, especially when we’re already halfway through the season.”
“We still had a really solid running game tonight,” Tichkowsky said, “and we played a much better game in the second half; shut them down, for the most part, barring one touchdown. So it took us a while to get rolling, but it’s important to see the good things that we did tonight and remember those.”
Next week, the Lions head over to Lloydminster to take on the Holy Rosary Raiders on Friday before coming back home to host the Bonnyville Voyageurs in their final home game of the regular season.