In a game befitting their long rivalry, the Central Cyclones and Peacock Tornadoes traded big plays Saturday.
In the end the Cyclones made more of them as they scored three second half touchdowns to beat Peacock 22-13 in the Moose Jaw High School Football League semifinal. The win ended the Tornadoes’ three year reign as city champions.
The Cyclones will meet the Vanier Vikings in the city final next Saturday.
“It feels so good,” said Central senior Chris Brennan who lost to Peacock in the playoffs two of the past three years. “It was intense every single play. It was just hard-hitting, intense, all game.”
Though the first half finished scoreless, there was no shortage of drama or desire on the field as both sides made a number of big plays.
“These boys really rose to the occasion,” said Central head coach Colin Belsher. “It was 0-0 at the half and it was a test of their character. A lot of these Grade 12s took it personally and stepped up and carried the team in the second half.”
Early in the third quarter Central receiver Daniel Bjorge scored on a 62 yard pass and run from Bren Forbes to break the deadlock.
Later in the third quarter Jacques Van Heerden scored on a five-yard run to put the Cyclones ahead 13-0.
Peacock conceded a safety rather than kick into the stuff wind and were down 15-0. The Peacock defence responded when Clay Ludwar’s 30-yard interception return gave the Tornadoes the ball deep in Central territory. They finished the drive when Sawyer Buettner found Kyle Dalgarno for an eight-yard touchdown catch with 6:19 left.
The Cyclones responded with a big drive that was capped by a 27-yard Van Heerden touchdown run to extend the lead to 22-7. Van Heerden finished with 157 yards rushing.
Just when it looked like the Tornadoes might be down they fought back again. On their first play after the touchdown, tailback Nathan Fall threw the ball to Dalgarno and he out-ran the Cyclones defence for an 81-yard touchdown. The Tornadoes missed the convert making their challenge even bigger, but didn’t quit.
Brennan intercepted his second pass of the game to seal the win in the dying seconds.
Central senior linebacker Braydon Mackey made a pair of huge plays — recovered a Peacock fumble at his own 32 yard line and later intercepting a pass on his own 20.
Bjorge caught five passes for 83 yards and Reegan Carter added four catches for 57 yards. Forbes finished with 151 yards passing.
Tyler Anakaer had two sacks for the Tornadoes. Nathan Fall had 100 yards rushing and Chris Fall ran two fake punts for 48 yards and a pair of first downs to keep drives alive.