Crusaders march down field to win in final minute

By Jeff D'Andrea
October 11, 2018 - 10:02pm

There’s a good chance the Carlton ‘cardiac kid’ Crusaders senior football team are going to give their head coach Lindsay Strachan a heart attack at some point this season.

It seems like every game they play this season is a see-saw battle that comes down to the very last play. Just about every game in decided by less than a touchdown, their first win of the year was 9-8 and both of their losses were by two and five points, respectively.

The script didn’t change much on Thursday, as the Crusaders drove down the field in the final minute to defeat Marion Graham Falcons 34-29 and improve their record to 4-2 on the season.

With 52 seconds left, Marion Graham scored a touchdown and could have tied it up at 28-28 with an extra point. Instead, they opted to go for a gutsy two-point conversion and made it. That put the Crusaders behind 29-28 with less than a minute to march down the field and score.

The battle tested Crusaders, who have been put in ‘get in and win’ situations just about every game all season, were unfazed late in the game.

“To be honest, it kinda felt like same old,” chuckled Strachan. “It’s been one of those seasons where we’ve found ourselves in that situation a few different times where we have to put something together at the end.”

Carlton Crusaders quarterback Cody Huntley looked to his left and found wide receiver Kael Leachman in the endzone from 25 yards out with just 14 seconds left to give the Crusaders their winning score they needed.

“It was a really good feeling. I... I can’t even describe it right now,” said Leachman, who had two touchdowns on the day.

Earlier in the drive, Crusader receiver Brandon Perreault made arguably the biggest play of the game other than Leachman’s major score. As the Crusaders were heaving the ball down the field looking for a big play, Perreault took what very well could have been a Falcons interception and won the jumping circus tip-catch for 35 yards to put the Crusaders in Falcons territory.

“That was incredible. I can’t believe he came down with that,” Leachman said “That was really big for us. We really needed that, and that just sparked the whole team.”

“It must have bounced off his knee, leg, I don’t know what happened there,” Strachan said. “For him to make that, it sets us up and puts us in a position where guys are thinking a little bit more on defence in protecting the end zone.”

Huntley had three touchdown passes, as he also found Keone Tyler in the end zone from 14 yards out in the third quarter. Running back Elijah McPherson found the end zone twice, including a 54-yard scamper in the first half.

The Crusaders now have one game left on the schedule for the year, next Friday against E.D. Feehan (0-5) at Max Clunie Field.

The other Prince Albert team, the St. Mary Marauders (3-2) will take on the Bethlehem Stars (2-3) on Friday night in Saskatoon. The Marauders will wrap up the regular season next Thursday with a home game against Tommy Douglas at Max Clunie Field.

 

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