Monday , 29 November 2021

Lions over Voyageurs; Bandits over Bengals in St. Paul vs Bonnyville football weekend

Playoff football got going with a bang on Friday night as both St. Paul vs Bonnyville matchups saw the underdogs give the favourites tough games. 

The St. Paul Lions punched their ticket with a 21-6 win over Bonnyville Voyageurs to advance to the Wheatland Football League semifinals, and solidified a place as the area representative for Tier IV provincial competition moving forward. 

The Lions will now play at the Lloyd Comp Barons on the road Friday at 7pm. In their previous meeting earlier this year, the Lions lost a tight game 11-0. 

Lions said Mark Tichkowsky said, “the Voyageurs came to play last Friday.”

“They had a great game plan for us. It was a well-fought game that could have gone either way. We were able to capitalize on a few plays and were able to put up 9 points before the half. The weather played a huge factor as the strong winds caused issues with the special teams,” he said.

The game was one possession by the end of the 3rd quarter 15-6 before the Lions put the game out of reach with a late touchdown.

“We had to play with a lot of enthusiasm and with a lot of fun which we did,” said Voyageurs coach Larry Godziuk after the game. “We had to move around the field with a high rate of speed and do things and they did.

“We knew we would have to put together a better defensive plan to keep the game as tight as it was. It was a winnable game for us. We had some snapping issues in the first half. The boys played their best game of football today,” he said. “We had a small roster that showed just how much they learned.”

In the other Wheatland League semifinal, the Cold Lake Royals lost 38-15 to the Wainwright Commandos. A Bonnyville vs Cold Lake matchup is in the works for this weekend. 

The Voyageurs will be looking for their first win of the season 0-6 while the Royals are 2-4.

Bantam playoffs 

The Bonnyville Bandits weathered an early St. Paul Bengals attack to win 34-20 and advance to the Wheatland Bantam Football League. 

St. Paul came out hungry trying to play spoiler with a great start. The Bengals were within three points driving down the field at the end of the first half, when an interception return for a touchdown from Holden Penny changed the complexion of the game and gave Bonnyville a 21-12 lead at half.

“We finished this game with 21 players and they just played so tough at the end,” said Bandits coach Kevin Sartain after the game. “That 100 yard drive basically led at the end by our quarterback [Sara Fagnan] and then Liam [Critch] and Zadyn…that sealed the deal for us.”

Bengals coach Todd Tanasichuk said he was very happy with his team’s play on Saturday, giving the Bandits a tough semifinal contest after a blowout early in the season 55-0.

“When you improve as much as we did between the first game to the second game that we played these guys. They’re a great team, hats off to Bonnyville for sure. But I’m happy how we performed. We had a lot of chances tonight to win. And I think it’s a belief factor. We don’t know how to win yet, but we do know now how to play a tough football game,” said Tanasichuk.

Bonnyville will play the final Saturday in Lloyd against the Red Dogs.

The Bengals will matchup against the Cold Lake Ravens in a game for 3rd place this weekend.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.