Pioneers fall just short in Fort Mac

Peace River Pioneer quarterback Darren Hudak [No. 7] runs the ball down the sideline against the High Prairie Renegades in high school action Sept. 24 in High Prairie.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The visiting Peace River Pioneers lost 35-33 to the Fort McMurray Saints Oct. 2 in high school Mighty Peace Football League action.
Head coach Mark Owens says it was a great game as two ranked teams went head to head.
“This was the best game that the Pioneers have played all season,” Owens says.
“The whole team stayed positive and as a team everyone contributed.”
Peace River was ranked No. 9 for Tier III schools by Alberta Football while Fort McMurray was rated No. 10 in Tier I, the largest schools.
“The game was intense the whole time, back and forth,” Owens says.
“We all made some mistakes we missed defensive tackles, missed blocks, missed catches and coaching calls.
“We win and lose as a team.”
Back from an injury, Braxton Rudneski scored three touchdowns for the Pioneers, who led 6-2 after the first quarter and trailed 14-12 at halftime and 21-12 after three quarters.
Rudenski opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 40-yard touchdown run.
Fort McMurray scored a touchdown on a two-yard run in the second quarter to take the lead.
Pioneer quarterback Darren Hudak plunged in a one-yard touchdown before the Saints responded with a 20-yard touchdown pass and run to close out the scoring in the first half.
Fort McMurray scored the only points in the third quarter on a one-yard touchdown.
Both teams traded touchdowns in the final quarter.
Rudneski scored on a 10-yard touchdown run for the Pioneers.
The Saints responded with a kick return for a touchdown.
Peace River plugged away as Kadin Crann scored a touchdown on a 10-yard run.
Going the other way, the Saints scored on a 60-yard run.
The Pioneers closed the gap when Rudneski ran in from three yards.
Peace River fans were able to watch the game on Youtube produced by school media students.
“Our friends and families back home appreciated watching the game live,” Owens says.
“Students interviewed the coaches and a player from each team.”
Peace River hosted the Whitecourt Cats on Oct. 7 in an exhibition game. Owens says no score was kept in the 90-minute controlled scrimmage.
Whitecourt forfeited the season with not enough players and the players they have are new to football, he says.
The scrimmage provided a good opportunity for less-experienced players on both teams to improve their skills.
After hosting the Sexsmith Sabres Oct. 15, the Pioneers visit Valleyview to play the Hillside Cougars on Oct. 22 to end the season.

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