Mohawks take Cougers in home opener

In its season opener, the Humboldt Collegiate Institute football team avenged last year’s provincial AA championship game loss.

On Sept. 4, the Mohawks downed the Clavet Cougars, 27-14, in nine-man action at Glenn Hall Park. Last year Cougars got by HCI, 19-11, in the title tilt.

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“I think it is really rewarding for our team in general,” Mohawks head coach Cory Popoff said. “I do think we had a tough battle at provincials last year. This year is a little bit of redemption.”

Facing off against a strong program in its season opening game provided the Mohawks with an important measuring stick. Popoff said there were two key takeaways from the contest. He said the Mohawks had the right players in the right positions. As well, the team now has film that can be evaluated and used to help it improve.

The 1-0 Mohawks are on a bye this week. They will play in Tisdale on Sept. 18.

“We take every game seriously and prepare accordingly,” Popoff said.

Beating the Cougars was no cake walk last week. HCI took an early 7-0 lead, but fell behind 14-7.

“What always impresses me about our team – the same thing as last year – is our resiliency,” Popoff said.

The Mohawks responded to Clavet’s challenge. Popoff praised the halftime adjustments by offensive coordinator David Rowe and his coaches. By exploiting some size and speed matchups, the offence was able to put points on the board.

Grade 11 quarterback Landon Seipp impressed the crowd by running for two touchdowns and throwing for two more. Morgan Gobeil and Jared Giddings hauled in TD passes. HCI was unable to add a point after on one touchdown.

“He didn’t panic under pressure, which is a big thing for a quarterback. … We look forward to him developing and growing,” Popoff said of his quarterback."

On the other side of the ball, the Mohawks contained the Cougars attack. Late in the game the HCI D intercepted Clavet pivot Graham Beresh, who played in last year’s title game, four times. Giddings had two interceptions while Jordan Seipp and Logan Wylie made the other two. Jordan Seipp also blocked a punt during the game.

Popoff said the interceptions were due to a combination of factors. He praised the defensive line for its “pure aggression” and ability to make the quarterback uncomfortable. As well, Popoff said the Mohawks in the HCI secondary made plays with their athleticism and football sense.

The head coach was pleased with the support of the community as well as alumni at the season opener.

“It sure makes for a great venue for us to play,” Popoff said.

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