Bruised Bengals bow out of playoffs
Football: Injuries catch up to Big Rock in 41-13 loss to Hilltoppers
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 06:00 am
From promising start to insurmountable deficit, football fortunes changed in the blink of an eye for the debutant Big Rock Bengals.
The Calgary Hilltoppers scored 22 unanswered points in the second half to cruise to the Division II championship game via a 41-13 romp at the expense of the beleaguered Bengals, Thursday at Shouldice Park.
“It was close, it was the closest game all season and in the second half we just let it slide,” said Bengals middle linebacker Cian Booth. “The defence just levelled out and didn’t play as intense as we wanted to.”
Following an even first quarter in which the teams traded touchdowns, Big Rock’s injuries began to peak. Okotoks speedster Jeus Mapatac was carted off in an ambulance after suffering a serious arm injury, causing a prolonged delay to second quarter proceedings.
“We had a guy out with an ankle, a guy break an arm, we had two concussions and one broken rib,” said Bengals head coach Bruce Marlow. “That’s no excuse, this (Calgary) is a better team, they played better tonight and they beat us.”
With the Hilltoppers marching down field and poised for a touchdown on a picture perfect fly pattern, the Bengals forced a fumble at the goal line. Opting to take a knee rather than kick out of the endzone, the Bengals surrendered two points to Calgary.
The Hilltoppers would make them pay on the next possession. Runningback Miles Browne found an edge on the right flank and hit pay dirt on third and goal to increase the lead two 16-7 with the extra point.
Needing to harness some momentum before half, the Bengals showcased their big play ability. With only 90 seconds on the clock, Grade 9 quarterback Blake Klotz tossed up a gorgeous spiral for receiver Peter Zajdel to haul in before running untouched into the end zone from 65 yards out.
Calgary would beat the clock and secure a late field goal to carry a 19-13 lead into the break as Browne continued to give the Bengals defence fits.
“We had to come out keying on 34 (Browne) and shutting down the run, coming out aggressive and wanting to hit him,” Booth said. “We started out like that and lost a few key guys, Jeus, that moment when he got carted off really took some momentum away.
“Injuries were kind of the downfall of the Bengals today.”
The Hilltoppers’ kicking game was at the centre of their second half surge with a pair of long field-goals increasing Calgary’s advantage to 27-13. The ’Toppers would put the result to bed with a pair of short goal line runs to truly take the wind out of the Bengals’ sails.
“As far as my boys, proud like you couldn’t imagine about what they did,” Marlow said. “They got outmanned tonight because there was just too much horsepower, but they handled it with class.
“We didn’t have one chippy penalty. In a game like this guys can get really pissed off and start doing stupid crap, not once. I’m very proud.”
Looking ahead to its second season, the Bengals brass is focusing on building strength in numbers and making the most of their first true off-season to recruit.
“We’ll come out with more kids and have some intensity from the kids that were already there and they’ll already know what we do,” Marlow said. “We’re going to come back next year with a lot more recruiting, a lot more intensity.”
To find out more about the Bengals program go to bigrockbengals.webs.com