Eagles slow down Colts
Football: Bantams qualify for top-tier playoffs with 22-16 win
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 06:00 am
In their biggest game of the season, the Foothills Bantam Eagles stepped up to the plate and delivered a knockout blow.
In a battle of postseason hopefuls, the Eagles kept their Tier 1 playoff hopes alive by outlasting the South Calgary Colts 22-16, Saturday afternoon at Shouldice Park in Calgary.
“We just executed and made our blocks and overall our whole team wanted to win really bad,” said Eagles linebacker Evan Bruyzneel. “I think it was very important. It was like a playoff game.
“It was a pretty big deal.”
Foothills lived up to the occasion from the opening kick-off.
On their fourth play from scrimmage, Blake Klotz found a hole in the Colts secondary and after receiving a 20-yard pass from quarterback Tyson Pitcher scampered into the end zone for a statement early touchdown.
Defence would rule the day for the remainder of the half as neither offence could muster significant drives in a hard-fought first-half.
The Eagles’ commitment to the running game began to pay dividends in the third quarter with thunder and lightning on the ground.
The power running of Ben Tighe and speed and elusiveness of Klotz and David Bowers out of the backfield gave its opponents a lot of different looks.
After an outside run from Bowers put the Eagles in a first-and-goal situation, Klotz took a pitch to the right and found paydirt for his second score of the game.
The Eagles switched back to the aerial attack to start their next drive.
Pitcher, looking as comfortable as can be in the pocket, found Bowers for a 20-yard throw and then did his best Eli Manning impression in escaping a pair of jersey tackles to find Klotz for a huge gain.
Foothills worked the ball into the red zone and handed it off to Bowers who carried a pair of Colt would be tacklers with him into the end zone to give the Eagles a 22-0 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“Ben Tighe and Blake, they ran hard, they gave some of younger guys like David Bowers some confidence,” said Eagles head coach John Price. “The kids get used to running to openings and sometimes you have to make your own openings if there isn’t any.
“Ben ran over three guys at once and Dave’s like ‘wow, it works.’”
Sensing the contest slipping away from them, the Colts mounted an impressive comeback.
Calgary’s Frazer Toenjes made a pair of Eagles miss with dynamic cutbacks en route to what looked to be a 60-yard catch and run touchdown. However, Foothills’ John Buck made a shoestring tackle to bring down the Colt receiver at the one-yard line.
Toenjes would punch it in with a powerful second-down run to give the Colts their first points of the game.
Toenjes would add a consolation touchdown with six seconds on the clock, hurdling an Eagle tackler en route to another 50-yard scamper — this time into the end zone.
The Eagles recovered the subsequent onside kick and held on for the six-point win, their second in a row to close the season at 4-4.
“The second half we got our stuff together and started playing better,” said Foothills’ Tyler Going, who made his debut at halfback on Saturday.
“We shut down number 11 (Logan Young), one of their best player on defence, he makes about 80 per cent of the tackles and we shut him down.”
Foothills, the fourth seed in the South, will now prepare for a crossover game with the Calgary Cowboys (Navy) – the North Division regular season kingpins.
The Eagles lost the previous meeting by a 32-15 count on Sept. 28.
“We should play the way we did this (Colts) game,” Bruyzneel said. “Block, execute, give it 100 per cent.”
If Foothills wins it advances to the Tier 1 postseason. A loss would drop the team down to the Tier II playoff bracket.
Kick-off is 3 p.m. at Shouldice Park.
For more information on the Eagles visit gofa.ca