Gator 3 players of the Game
Offensive - Mike Wasylyniuk 10 Catches for 205 yards, 1 TD
Defensive - Miles Myers 6 Solos, 2 assists, 1 Int, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Knockdown
Special Teams - Ian Hewitt FG 2/2 Long 46 Yards, 2/3 PAT, 5 Punts for 211 Avg 42
The Gators hopes were high heading into Lloydminster to take on the Vandals on Saturday but their hopes were quickly crushed on the first play of the game when former BC Lions, Mike McEachern was knocked out of the game when he was bent over backwards on the initial kick return. Without the services of Kyle Heier due to an unrelated football injury, the Gators returned Denny Bonnett to safety and put rookie DB Dylan Halliday to work in the secondary.
The Vandals quickly capitalized running the score up 21-3 in the first quarter, the only Gator points coming from a long 46 field goal from their reliable kicker, Ian Hewitt. The Gators started to mount a comeback, bringing the score within 16 at the half. But the football gods were not on their side, after a turnover filled first half, the trend continued into the second half. The Gators would march the ball to the redzone only to turn it over twice on interceptions by QB Dan Strikaitis who came into the game in the third quarter to relieve struggling QB Dan Craig. Striker looked great initially, completing 5 consecutive passes before throwing his first pick after which he stopped a trio of blockers from creating a wall which would have helped lead to another big-play TD from the Vandals.
There were bright spots here and there in the game but they were too few and far between. WR Mike Wasylyniuk had an incredible game, catching 10 receptions for 205 yards and 1 TD. SB Taylor Campbell led the Gators in scoring, grabbing 2 TDs, one coming on a long 33 yard pass from QB Dan Craig. The Gators collectively put up the most rushing yards in a long time against the Vandals D, led by RB Nick Berry, they ran for 124 yards on 21 carries.
On defence the Gators secondary looked scared to be beat deep after the loss of McEachern, allowing Vandals receivers a big patch of field to work with on the short pass. This led to many Vandals first downs. The front seven had some trouble keeping QB Valleau contained initially but eventually adjusted and started catching him more often resulting in a few short runs and 3 sacks from the Gators linebackers. Big Tony Verbrugge had some big plays, tossing the QB and RBs around like ragdolls with his bear-hug tackling style. MLB Donny Scott helped out everywhere he could catching Vandals for 1 solo and 7 assists and a 1/2 for loss. DB's Miles Myers, Dylan Halliday, and Neil Scotland combined for 22.5 tackles, which doesn't tend to bode well for that translates into many completed passes. Some of those completions were very rightfully earned, however, with some quite spectacular catches from the Vandals receivers. Miles also forced a fumble, something most of us has never seen him do. He attacked the ball and ball carriers with a vengeance, catching the Gators only interception as well.
The Gators would like to sincerely thank all of their fans, supporters and sponsors this year. Without all of you, there would be no Gators Football. We promise to be back next year, as hungry as ever and in the hunt once again for that Provincial and then the National Championship. With all our returning young players getting that year under their belt, coming so close to the big win, you can bet our boys won't disappoint. If you want to see the Gators before that, you can always keep an eye on our website for upcoming events and fundraisers.
|This is a pic - compliments of one of his team mates - Miles is the right in the middle - facing the player with the orange helmet that is being 'sandwiched'.|