The Swift Current Comp. Colts got off to a disappointing start to the 2011 season with a 25-7 loss to the visiting Estevan Elecs on Thursday.
The Colts were hampered by turnovers, six in total, as they struggled to claw their way out of the many holes they dug themselves into.
The Colts trailed for most of the game even though the two teams both put up 226 yards of total offence.
It was a tale of two different offences as the Elecs gained 202 yards along the ground on 37 attempts compared to the Colts 43 yards on 14 attempts. The Colts gained 183 yards on 11 pass completions, while the Elecs gained just 24 yards on two completed passes.
Elecs running back Tyler Hodgeson punished the Colts for 77 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Dustin MacCuish scampered for 102 yards on 18 carries, including a 34-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
The Colts got on the board with 9:27 left in the game on a 50-yard pass and run from Josh Siemens to Curtis Akre and Jaylen Mayall added the extra point to cut the lead to 20-7.
Things went from bad to worse when Siemens was knocked out of the game with an apparent knee injury with 4:08 remaining to end any Colts' comeback hopes.
“It sounds like he is going to be okay,” said head coach Derek Murdoch. “I guess the long weekend and getting a few days off probably couldn’t have come at a better time in terms of that. It kind of sound like it is just a bit of a sprain in his knee so we hope he is good to go.”
Murdoch agreed that the Colts beat themselves in their season opener.
“Yeah that would be an understatement. We thought going in that having a game under our belts would help us eliminate some of those mistakes. Maybe some of them were jitters and ball security things. It seemed that every time something good would happen we kind of shot ourselves in the foot.”
Murdoch hopes that his veteran team can learn from their mistakes.
“I think that the biggest thing that we have going for us is that all these guys have been through the ups and downs of the football season. That is one of the things that we talked about is that we have lots of football to play. If we are making these mistakes, I would rather do it at the beginning than the end.”
"We made a lot of little mistakes and those will get ya during a game for sure," said Colts grade 12 rush end Chris Vanstone. "We just need to work on working as a team more. We have to stop getting down on ourselves when everything isn't going our way. Eventually it will go our way if we just work as a team, work on the little mistakes, and everything should be okay."
The season opening loss was compounded by the fact that it came to Estevan, who eliminated the Colts in the first round of the playoffs last season.
“We were ready for a game alright. It is pretty sad that we lost, we are all pretty down right now. We just have to get up again. We will be seeing them again and we will be ready,” said Vanstone.
The Colts will get another shot at the Elecs in the regular season when they travel to Estevan on October 6.
“I think that we had a pretty healthy respect for them coming in knowing that they are always really well coached. We knew that they were going to be a pretty big team and they definitely had some size. They didn’t really do anything that surprised us,” said Murdoch.
“Our defense played pretty well and got us some stops. But every time we got the ball back we seemed to give it right back. They are a good football team and I think that they are probably going to play everybody pretty tough,” he continued.
The Colts will be back in action on Saturday when they visit Moose Jaw AE Peacock at Guthridge Field at 1 p.m. They will be back at home to host the Central Cyclones on September 16 at 4 p.m. at Colts Field.
“We don’t know a lot. I think that they are always really well coached,” said Murdoch of the Peacock Tornadoes. “It is a program that, at least traditionally in the last decade, has never really faltered too much. I think they are going to have a new quarterback, so we know that is about the biggest change for them. They are going to be a good, solid defensive team, so we are going to have to clean up the turnovers. We just have to focus on what we are doing.”