This Thursday night edition of the Capital District Minor Football Association Midget spring was sure to be an exciting game, and it was nothing short of that. What did you expect though? You have the top two teams in the league facing off for the top spot and the distinction of being the only remaining undefeated team. While the Seahawks have been a strong team for years with a high scoring dynamic offense and a stingy defense that comes at you from everywhere and eats up the run game, then there are the Lloydminster Red Dogs who are a very strong athletic team that has been undefeated for the past two and a half seasons. Both teams showed up to play Thursday and did not disappoint the fans that showed up for some football on the first nice day of 2018.
The Seahawks and Red Dogs started out with strong defensive performances. The teams went back and forth with several stalled drives and no one team really gaining any momentum. The tide turned when #66 defensive end Ishaq Soufli blocked a Red Dog’s punt and gave the Seahawks the ball on the Red Dogs’ 43-yard line. Running back Joel Gbalou would cap off a 3-play 43-yard drive by breaking it outside and scampering 24 yards for the touchdown. With the point after added, the Seahawks took a 7-0 lead with 4:49 to go in the 1st quarter.
The Red Dogs would answer back on the following possession marching the ball down the field to the Seahawks 15 yard line and were threatening to score. The following play again defensive end Mikhail Biggs with a big hit on the Red Dogs running back forced the ball loose and it was recovered by linebacker Lunden Larratt to stop the drive on the Hawks own 10-yard line.
Following the turnover, the Seahawks offense began marching down the field again. The Red Dogs' defense didn’t have an answer for the Hawks offense and the 8-play 100-yard drive was completed with a 3-yard run for a touchdown by running back #35 Mathew Olivo giving the Seahawks a 14-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter.
On the next possession, the Red Dogs would make a game of it and go to the air for a big strike putting them on the 3-yard line. They would punch in a 3-yard run to bring the score to 14-7 with 8:52 left in the half.
The defenses would now settle in and force both offenses to short drives in this seesaw battle. With under two minutes remaining in the half, the Red Dogs pushed hard to tie the game. With time winding down they tried a deep shot and was picked off by Seahawks corner #80 Caleb Olsen who ran the ball back 30 yards to set up one last drive by the Hawks offense. The Hawks proceeded to drive the field threatening to score when a fumble inside the Red Dogs 30-yard line would stall the drive. The ball was recovered by the Red Dogs but the Seahawks defense would hold. The score at halftime was 14-7.
The second half would start off with the Red Dogs holding the Seahawks to a 2 and out. The Seahawks defense would answer by forcing the Red Dogs to a turnover on downs. Another two and out by the Seahawks would be followed by a two and out by the Red Dogs. On this punt #80, Caleb Olsen will return the ball from his own 13-yard line and follow a convoy of Seahawk blockers for a 97-yard touchdown to give the Hawks a 21-7 lead with 5:12 left in the 3rd.
The Red Dogs would answer on the next drive scoring to get back within one score down 21-14 with 2:34 left in the 3rd quarter.
That score would hold until the final minute of the 4th quarter when the Red Dogs would score on a deep pass to get within one with 38.4 seconds left on the clock. The Red Dogs would go for two on the convert to try to take the lead but the Seahawks defense stopped them on the 1-yard line to stay on top 21-20.
The Red Dogs down by one would go with an onside kick. On the kick, the ball goes through Seahawks players outstretched hand and was batted out of bounds by a Red Dog’s player. The Red Dogs would take possession on the Seahawks 50 yard line with 38 seconds left down 21-20.
Time seemed to stand still for the next few plays as the Seahawks defense tried to hold off the Red Dogs' attack and hold on for the next 38 seconds. The Red Dogs' quarterback managed to just sneak into the corner of the end zone with just 1.4 seconds on the clock to give the Red Dogs their first lead of the game. The Red Dogs would score two on the conversion and go up 28-21.
With 1.4 seconds on the clock, the Red Dogs would try the onside kick again but it landed short of the 10-yard requirement and went out of bounds. With the penalty applied the Seahawks would take the ball on the Red Dogs 54-yard line with just 1.4 seconds and one last shot to tie the game. The Seahawks would go with a pass out to #42 Joel Gbalou but he was forced out at the 40-yard line to end the game.
This was an exciting battle between the top two teams in the CDMFA midget spring league, both teams left everything on the field. The Red Dogs remain undefeated at 4-0 and the Seahawks fall to 3-1 with two games remaining in the short season. The Seahawks will face the Parkland Predators on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at Clarke Stadium for what I expect to be another great game. 4:15 pm kick off.