Lions dismantle Voyageurs
The St. Paul Lions jumped back into the win column on Friday evening with a dominant 38-0 victory over the Bonnyville Voyageurs.
The Voyageurs entered the Jungle in St. Paul after collecting only a single point in two losses to Cold Lake and Holy Rosary, and things didn't get any easier for Bonnyville against the defending Wheatland champion Lions.
“It didn’t matter if we won tonight or not, we wanted to have a good game as a team and we know what that means. I think today was showing for us and the league that we’re here to stay,” said wide receiver Darrell Stranger, who currently leads the Wheatland Football League in reception yards with 302, 69 more than Cold Lake's Justin Hodinsky, who currently sits second the league. “I think just mentally throughout the week . . . we wanted to make a statement in all four quarters, especially the third . . . but I think being aggressive throughout the week and being mentally prepared made a big difference.”
Stranger registered a touchdown and 50 yards on three receptions in Friday's game, while fellow wide receiver Patrick Dion picked up a touchdown and 42 yards on two receptions.
Lance Ouellette led the Lions in rushing with 173 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown, followed by Dylon Machura with 80 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
“Today the O-line played great, they may not have been the best in the last couple of weeks but tonight they really stepped it up . . . They went out and played as hard as they can and the results showed on the scoreboard,” said Machura, who had a strong night on both sides of the ball. “We were just wanted to play Lions football, hard hitting and high scoring,”
Quarterback Brenden McKay threw for 100 yards in the game, completing six of 19 pass attempts and putting up two touchdowns.
The Lions were strong defensively, as well, stopping the majority of the Voyageurs drives in three straight downs, but defensive coach Todd Tanasichuk said that there is still room to grow.
“I do think we became better as a football team, any coach is not going to think everyone was perfect out there even when they played real well, but we needed today. The boys are feeling confident today, but we’ve still got to work harder,” Tanasichuk said of the victory, his 60th as coach of the Lions. “We’ve got to limit those mistakes and those fumbles, but I was very happy with the way they played.”
Machura, Dave Thomson and Dakota Boucher all registered six tackles in the game, with two of Boucher's being sacks on the Bonnyville quarterback. Brian Boucher also picked up an interception in the game.
St. Paul will take on the Holy Rosary Raiders in Lloydminster this Friday for a night game under the lights, and Tanasichuk said that he expects a much closer game, as no Lions team has ever defeated the Raiders in Lloydminster.
“Rosary is, I think, very similar to Cold Lake in that they have a really good running back, a good passing game and lots of good skilled position guys. It’s going to be a tough test for us, and we’re going into their house, it’s a night game,” he said. “They’re going to be excited to play us, and we’re going to have to be ready.”
The Lions return to the Jungle at St. Paul Regional on Sept. 27 for the Under the Lights game against the Cold Lake Royals.
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