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Calgary Dinos defensive back Brett Ferguson (#21) plows into Clansmen linebacker Barrett Radziszewski (#27).
Jenny Waters/the Peak

Footballers let sloppy game slip away

The Dinos find themselves in thick of things with a 2-2 record

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The Dinos football team was soaked in misery by the Simon Fraser University Clan, losing 20-3 on a wet, soggy, moisture-laden day in Burnaby, B.C.

When the final whistle was blown the Dinos showed that they lacked offensive finish and could not put points on the board.

The loss propelled the Dinos to a 2-2 record and a four-way tie for second place in the Canada West standings, while Simon Fraser took sole possession of first place at 3-1.

The Dinos took the loss hard, but still believe they can compete with anybody in the Canada West conference.

"It's a tough loss," said Calgary head coach Blake Nill. "Personally I was very disappointed with the loss and I have a tough time dealing with it. Canada West is a tough conference and we have to do a better job protecting the football."

The conditions in Burnaby were the cause of many turnovers as the field was extremely slippery and water-logged-- not a good sign for an offence such as Calgary's.

"We don't play on grass very often, so it's a little bit different," said Nill. "It slowed the game down and we are a fast team and playing in a little bit of sloppy conditions wasn't beneficial to us."

Both teams committed turnovers, but SFU took advantage of the mistakes more often than Calgary. Three of the Dino turnovers occurred in the red zone, halting promising drives and changing the fate of the game for Calgary.

"We turned the ball over on the Simon Fraser three-, 10-and 24-yard line," said Nill. "One of their touchdowns was the result of a fumble. The turnovers were the major component in the outcome of the game."

SFU head coach Dave Johnson was also up front about the turnovers being a crucial factor.

"The weather was awful and the field was slippery and the turnovers ended up being the difference," he said.

The first quarter began with two plays and two fumbles. Clan receiver Andrew Emans dropped the ball after a catch, then on the next play Calgary quarterback Deke Junior mishandled the snap and it was recovered by Simon Fraser. The first quarter contained the only offensive touchdown of the game as Simon Fraser capitalized on a successful drive against the strong Calgary defence. The drive was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by Clan quarterback Bernd Dittrich. The Clan failed to convert and led 6-0 after 15 minutes.

The second quarter was tame as the Clan scored two field goals by kicker Jeffrey Biles and Calgary had an impressive drive snuffed out as they fumbled for the third time. Simon Fraser went into the half leading 12-0.

Although Calgary's drives were more impressive in the second half, they continued to end in turnovers that SFU capitalized on. In the third quarter Junior orchestrated an eight-play, 88-yard drive only to be intercepted on the 19-yard line. Once again the Dinos were held scoreless on what looked to be a promising drive. The Calgary defence stood solid in the second half, allowing only one point off a SFU rouge. Despite all of the half-baked offensive drives, Nill was happy with Calgary's ball possession time and the team even managed to win the third quarter as Aaron Ifield kicked a 37-yard field goal to bring the game to 12-3.

"I thought we moved the ball fairly well throughout the game," said Nill. "It is tough when you don't score [touchdowns]."

The second touchdown of the game came early in the fourth quarter courtesy of a Calgary fumble. The SFU defence took running back Matt Walter's fumble 31 yards for a touchdown, putting them up 20-3, the final score.

Despite the negatives on the day for Calgary, several players had huge games and the defence played strong. Walter rushed for 143 yards-- his second 100 yard game in a row-- and Anthony Parker amassed over 100 receiving yards. The defence gave up only one touchdown and kept the game close.

"Our defence is a national ranked defence in the sense that the athletes and experience we have makes us very strong," said Nill. "I was surprised they ran the ball that much on our defence, but we didn't protect the corners very well [either]."

The Dinos will continue to practice the same way they have every week.

"I pride myself on the fact that we prepare for each game similarly," said Nill. "We don't look at games as tough or easy games. We just were unable to meet [SFU's] level of intensity."

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