Peacock and Yorkton add another chapter to budding rivalry Saturday
The Peacock Tornadoes and Yorkton Raiders want to see history repeat itself Saturday.
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Yorkton's Alex Popoff, right, tries to elude the tackle of Peacock's Spencer Barrett in the teams' meeting earlier during the regular season.
Not in the same way of course.
The Tornadoes are aiming to beat the Raiders in the Moose Jaw High School Football League city final (1 p.m., Gutheridge Field) for the second straight year. Last year, however, the Tornadoes beat the Raiders in the final 49-29 after Yorkton had won their regular season meeting.
This season, Peacock beat Yorkton 44-21 in their regular season meeting and the Raiders figure turnabout is fair play.
“It’s a rematch from last year. We beat them in the regular season last year and lost in the final, so we’re hoping things flip flop for us,” said Yorkton Regional head coach Roby Sharpe.
The Tornadoes are expecting to face a very motivated and determined Raiders squad.
“The pressure is definitely on. We have to make sure the team is focused this week,” said Peacock senior lineman Spencer Barrett who plays on both sides of the ball. “We know that they’re physical. We were all definitely sore after the game. We have to be prepared and come out with the same intensity.”
Their regular season meeting was defined by turnovers. The Raiders turned the ball over nine times — four interceptions, two fumbles and three times on downs — to give Peacock ample opportunities to put the game away. Spencer Nancarrow’s interception return for a touchdown was the backbreaker.
“Protecting the ball is going to be key. If you commit nine turnovers, you can’t win a football game,” said Sharpe.
The importance of turnovers is only magnified by the significance of the game. The Tornadoes turned the ball over twice in their semifinal win, but only turned it over five times in six regular season games.
“Turnovers are part of the game and you try not to make them happen, but you don’t think about that when you’re back there. You have to have confidence in yourself and your team,” said Peacock quarterback Sawyer Buettner who completed 74.1 per cent of his passes and only threw two interceptions all season. “We both know each other pretty well and we’re expecting it to be a good game.”
The teams have been the class of the league this season and feature some impressive offences. Peacock averaged just over 49 points-per-game, while Yorkton was scoring slightly more than 44 points-per-game.
Peacock’s Nathan Fall led the league in rushing with 950 yards, but Yorkton’s Zach Kais was right behind him with 933 yards and had a slightly better per-carry average.
Buettner led the league with 1,211 yards passing in six games, but Yorkton quarterback David Balysky was right behind him with 1,111 yards passing. Yorkton’s Alex Popoff led the league in receiving yards with 621 off of 22 catches for an impressive 28.2-yard average.
Peacock has receivers like Levi Paul, Lane Bossence and Kyle Arndt who are capable of breaking big plays, while Fall is a threat to score every time he touches the ball and led the league with 19 touchdowns. Still, Buettner is looking to be patient and move the chains first and foremost.
“We need to put drives together. They’re well-coached and I think they’ll be able to not allow any big plays. We want to put some drives together, chew up the clock and try to get some points,” said Buettner.
Both teams have balanced attacks, but Yorkton’s run game led them to lead the league in offence and Sharpe feels their power running game is their key.
“We run the ball. We’re prepared for football in Saskatchewan at this time of year,” said Sharpe. “We run the ball. We’re big, we run first, we play defense-first. That’s our style.”
The Tornadoes were able to offset their size disadvantage in their earlier meeting and they know they will need to use their speed again.
“We have to be quicker off the ball and make sure we do our jobs and rely on everyone else to do theirs,” said Barrett.