Tigers Football ready for playoffs



By Eoin Devereux

The Neepawa Banner

The Rural Manitoba Football League’s regular season has ended on a positive note for the Neepawa Tigers, as the team defeated the East Park Warriors 31-6 on Friday, Oct. 17.

Senior Brenden Cowan led the way for Neepawa with 6 rushing carries for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cowan also went 3 for 7 in passing for 81 yards, before being replaced by Dylan Oshanyk, who completed 8 passes on 11 attempts for 49 yards.

Tigers coach Dave Clark said a quick start to the game allowed them to pull Cowan and a few other starters early, in order to rest them for the playoffs.

“We weren’t going to take any chances heading into the playoffs. Brenden Cowan has a bit of a sore shoulder and Cody Pasowisty has a sore ankle, so we felt, with some of the guys banged up, why take the chance,” said Clark. “We’ve been working with Dylan [Oshanyk] all year. With Brenden in grade 12, Dylan will be taking the ball next year and this was a chance for us to put Dylan in. Have him take a few more game reps and see him execute a little bit more.”

It was another strong showing from the Tigers’ defence, as Will Birnie collected 7 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Dillan Neufeld and Nick Kuharski also brought down the Warriors quarterback for sacks while Brady Unger registered 5 tackles and an interception. 

Clark said despite the impressive showing on the scoreboard, the Tigers  did not finish as strongly as he and the coaching staff had hoped. He said that could be dangerous against a team like the Moosomin Generals, who Neepawa will play in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, Oct. 25.

“Our intensity wasn’t where I thought it should have been. I need the guys to be more focused. More in tune with what’s going on,” said Clark. “I told them that what happens today has to carry into the playoffs against Moosomin.”

The Tigers have spent the week preparing and Clark is confident they will head into the weekend more than ready.

“We are going to be as prepared as we possibly can be. During practice, we worked on a few things. We also have some game film on Moosomin and we reviewed it,” said Clark. “What’s important is that the players need to amp up the intensity. If we don’t come out hard against Moosomin and early, they are a tough team to beat.”

In preparation for the playoff game in Moosomin, the team has chartered a bus for parents and fans to travel on. Clark said its $20.00 per person to confirm a place on the bus and about 40 people are needed to make the charter cost effective. Anyone interested is asked to contact the main office at NACI to get his or her name on the list.