Cobras strike down Knights again
Football: HTAs defence up to the task against Rundle
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 06:00 am
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights were able to slowdown a high-powered offence in their Big Rock Football Conference semifinal on the weekend, unfortunately, their own offence stalled.
The Knights’ season ended when they were shutout 17-0 by the Rundle College Cobras Friday at Cobra Field in Calgary. The Knights’ defence was able to hold explosive Cobra running back Noah Muruve to around 100 yards rushing and held him out of the end zone completely.
“We had studied the game film from last year and he had the ball 21 out of 33 plays — he’s 60 per cent of the offence,” said Knights head coach Matt Hassett.
“We always wanted to know where he was, but he still got his yards.”
The Knights showed early this wasn’t about to be the same 30-1 blowout loss Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) suffered at Rundle in last year’s semifinal.
HTA was knocking on the end zone early in the first quarter when Knights quarterback Spencer Kiranas threw a long pass to Nick Villarreal who climbed up and hauled down the ball on the Cobras’ 10-yard-line.
Donovan Curtis than ran the ball down to the Cobras’ two yard line, but then momentum changed in a snap.
After an unnecessary roughness call against Rundle, the Knights had first and goal at the two-yard line.
With Kiranas in the shotgun, a snap went between him and Curtis and the Cobras recovered the ball.
“Pin that one on me,” Knights offensive co-ordinator Kyle Clay said. “I should have had Spencer over the centre on that one.”
Rundle was able to work the ball down the field before settling for a field goal to make it 3-0 after the first quarter.
The Cobras upped their lead to 10-0 early in the second quarter when quarterback Aaron Gruending found receiver Hayden Turner all alone on a play-action pass for an 18-yard touchdown.
“We read the coverage and the Knights’ safety went to one side and we threw to the other,” Gruending said. “Hayden ran a great route and was wide open.”
On their next drive, the Cobras were once again knocking on the door on the HTA five-yard line when they went for it on a third-and-two. Knights cornerback Jordan Rae saved a touchdown when he jumped up and knocked down a sure touchdown pass.
“They were going for it all and I was just able to get up there and smack it down,” Rae said.
Rae’s celebration was short-lived.
The Knights were unable to move the ball and disaster happened when HTA’s Aidan Tilley went to punt the ball.
Cobra Nick Evans blocked the punt and the ball caromed into the end zone where a Cobra jumped on the pigskin like a Dawg on a bone.
Cobra linebacker Austin Ely, a pitcher and infielder with the Okotoks Midget Red Dawgs, landed on the football to give the Cobras the touchdown and a 17-0 lead with 3:51 left in the half.
“I wasn’t even supposed to be there — I was supposed to be back blocking,” Ely said. “I was lucky, the ball just happened to be there. It was a huge play for us.”
Hassett took the blame for the blocked punt, stating he should have protected the punter more.
The tenacious Knights defence was able to keep Rundle off the scoreboard in the second half.
“Our whole goal was to shutdown #24, Noah, and we did — he didn’t score today,” said Rae, the Knights’ defensive captain.
“We switched to a 50-front (five linemen) to shut down the run more.”
The Knights were able to get into Rundle College’s territory but weren’t able to hit paydirt.
Clay said his team would take one step forward and then two steps back as they were hurt by penalties and dropped balls.
Kiranas looked sharp at times in what was his first full game at quarterback. He missed much of the season with a leg injury. Clay said he is looking forward to having a healthy Kiranas back for a full season in 2014.
The Knights final drive was led by Grade 12 Troy McGee.
“We wanted to get Troy in there because it is his last high school game of his career,” Hassett said.
McGee was able to move the ball and also had some big catches in the semifinal.
The Knights ended their season with a 3-5 record.
Rundle College, the defending Big Rock champions, will now play the Foothills Falcons at Falcon Field Friday in what will be a rematch of last year’s final.
Kick-off is at 7:15 p.m.