Bengals earn victory over Cold Lake rivals
The Bengals took to the field under the lights on Saturday night at St. Paul Regional High field, setting the stage for the Lions, with a 33-20 victory over the Cold Lake Royals.
“Under the lights, just the testosterone in the room - it’s just electric,” Bengals defensive end Eric Johnson said of the experience. “It was magical. There is no better feeling.”
The victory lifted the Bengals to 2-0 on the season, bringing them a step closer to their goal of a playoff bye.
“I feel pretty good after a win like this. It was nice to see the boys play against a team that came out and was a lot different than the team we played last week,” Bengals head coach Seth Henderson said of the victory over their Cold Lake rivals.
“They were willing to hurt us, play against us and we had to dig deep and fight back.”
The Bengals opened the scoring with touchdowns from Patty Dion and Liam Krys, giving them a 12-0 edge, but the Royals fought their way back into the game.
While Dion added another touchdown before the end of the second quarter, Cold Lake put up two of their own, bringing the score to 18-14 at halftime.
In a second half filled with hard hits and adversity, the Bengals maintained their lead thanks to a strong effort from the defensive line.
“It was a close game and the defense hung in there . . . last year, they beat us pretty bad so it’s nice to get that victory,” said Bengals defensive coordinator Derek Zapisocki. “It means we can trust our boys in a tight game to play hard.”
While the scoring was once again driven home by the work of Dion and Krys, who put up 165 and 185 all-purpose yards respectively, Henderson insists it was the offensive and defensive lines that won them this game.
“(Dion and Krys) were stars, definitely. Touchdowns, that’s always going to get recorded, but the unrecorded stuff of playing hard on the offensive and defensive lines . . . that is a game changer,” Henderson said, adding that the Bengals reached the Royals’ quarterback more than a dozen times in the game.
Robinson picked up eight solo tackles in the game with four sacks, and his teammate Reuben Johnson had a monstrous 14 solo tackles on the night.
“(Robinson) came up huge in that game. I don’t know how many sacks and tackles for losses. He’s an unstoppable force,” Zapisocki said.
After raising their lead to 26-14 with an 11-yard touchdown run from Krys in the third quarter, the Bengals ran into a world of penalty troubles in the final frame.
St. Paul took 95 yards of penalties in the fourth quarter, allowing Cold Lake to cut the deficit back to four points with just over three minutes left in the game, but the Bengals refused to give into the pressure.
With just over a minute left, Krys drove in the touchdown that sealed the game from 12 yards out.
“Our whole team played good, but (the defensive line) did a spectacular job of holding their offense and making sure they can’t score. Our defense definitely played a big part in winning the game,” Krys said, adding that he feels this game showed the Bengals’ true form.
“It’s just another bounce-back game on the road to the championship. I think we can do it this year if we can keep our concentration.”
The Bengals will now hit the road to take on the Bonnyville Bandits on Friday at 6 p.m.
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