The temperature was brisk and the winds were strong as the St. Paul Bengals took to the field on Saturday afternoon. Against the Wainwright Warhawks, the Bengals sought their first win of the season and their first touchdown of the season. A determined offensive line and spectacular defense helped the Bengals cruise their way to a 32-6 victory.
The Bengals’ first big chance to put the ball into the end zone came during their second drive of the game. But after a long throw, St. Paul fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Wainwright to push the play the other way. However, on the very next play, the Bengals caught a massive interception. Thanks to that turnover, they gained possession with a fresh set of downs. Interceptions went on to play a key role in the Bengals’ victory. The Bengals caught a total of five interceptions throughout the game.
On the ensuing drive, Austin Scrannage ran the ball for over 50 yards and dodged two tackles on his way to score the Bengals first touchdown of the afternoon. The Bengals attempted to run the ball for two extra points after the touchdown, as they would do for every touchdown during the game. But the first attempt at a two-point conversion was unsuccessful, giving them a 6-0 lead over Wainwright to finish off the first quarter.
St. Paul turned up the offense of pressure in the second quarter in a big way. Before the first half of the game drew to a close, the Bengals had scored three more touchdowns and allowed one for Wainwright, bringing the score up to 24-6 at the half.
The Warhawks had a fantastic opportunity to score their second touchdown of the game midway through the 3rd quarter. But their long, 25-year pass was intercepted in the end zone once again by St. Paul. The Bengals initiated a slow and steady drive that finished off the third quarter and led well into the fourth. Finally, with only six minutes left in the game, the Bengals threw a fantastic 30-yard pass I was caught and run into the end zone for their final touchdown of the game. To cap it off, their two-point conversion was also successful leading to the final score of 32-6.
“We are pretty happy with the game overall,” said Bengals coach Todd Tanasichuk, “and it was really nice to get some points on the board since we hadn’t scored in the first two games. I felt that our defense played really well, and our five interceptions were key turning points in the game. It was just a really good performance by our kids.”
This year’s Bengals crew is a young and inexperienced, but eager team. Only two of its players are returning from last year.
“We are a very green team this year, but our boys are starting to figure it out,” Tanasichuk said. “Defensively, we’re playing really well, and offensively we’re starting to move the ball a little bit more and see some success. They’re learning the plays and they know what to do. Sometimes the execution isn’t always there but it’s just a matter of learning and constantly improving.”
Next up on the Bengals’ schedule is the Bonnyville Bandits. The two teams met once this season already, and the Bandits won that showdown with a decisive 53-0 victory. Tanasichuk says that simply playing a better game against them and “closing the gap” on the scoreboard will be a victory for the young Bengals.