TISDALE — In front of a large crowd under the lights, the Tisdale Middle & Secondary School football team opened its season in fine form.
The Tornados romped past the L.P. Miller Comprehensive School Bears of Nipawin, 46-14. After what head coach Keenan Carrier called “season-opening growing pains,” the team got rolling.
“As soon as we got settled down, we knew what we could do, and we played hard. We played fast,” the Tisdale sideline mentor said. “We just got the job done at the end of the day.”
The community came out in force to cheer on the team and check out the new football tower, which is utilized for announcing, concessions, and equipment storage. Veteran receiver Landon Thibault said, “my favourite part of playing competitive football again is the atmosphere it creates.” There was certainly a great atmosphere in Tisdale on Sept. 10.
“Great community support,” Carrier said. “I couldn’t be more proud of everyone – the volunteers, booster club, boosters, parents – getting the lights set up for us and the community coming out. That was one of the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen at a Tisdale Tornados game. It was unreal to see and I’m super proud of all the support we got.”
The Tornados will look to improve to 2-0 when they host La Ronge’s Churchill Community High School on Friday. Carrier said their opponent is usually well coached.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves – cleaning up what we have to do on our end and then it’ll take care of itself,” he said.
After having last season severely limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, TMSS was thrilled to be back on the gridiron.
“The thing I missed most about football is just playing and improving with everyone,” Thibault said.
Early on against the visitors from Nipawin, the Tisdale team leaned on its veterans. The Tornadoes built up a 43-0 halftime lead. The host squad went with a younger squad in the second half.
“[The veterans] did a great job in the first half there,” Carrier said. “They were able to put up some points on the scoreboard and kind of maintain Nipawin to a low score. They gave the rookies and Grade 9s and 10s an opportunity to get out there and see what’s happening.”
The Tornados had some big plays on both sides of the ball.
“Right off the bat, our quarterback, [Derek] Wassill, ran in a couple touchdowns and we had some really long touchdown runs from some other Grade 12s, Landon Thibault and Jakeb Cortus,” Carrier said. “Our other Grade 12s and veterans on deference were making big stops and flying around. … Making sure we were containing Nipawin’s offence and that was really good getting the ball back quickly for our offence so they could get back to work again.”
In the victory over the Bears, the Tornados had contributions from many players.
“We are a full team out there. … We got to make sure everybody is doing their job out there, so we are not just relying on one person.” Carrier said. “We are going to spread the wealth on offence and on defence, we are a great pursuit team. That’s what we focus on – getting all nine helmets to where the ball is.”
In the season-opening victory, the head coach was most pleased with how the team was disciplined. It was assessed a few penalties but still competed hard. Carrier said the Bears are a good team and the Tornados do have aspects of their game they need to clean up.