By Darren Lum
Published Oct. 10 2017
Two weeks after losing a game by way of a mercy rule invoked at halftime to open the season the Red Hawks senior football team showed what they were made of in front of their home town supporters on Thursday Oct. 5 at the Gary G. Brohman Athletic Field in Haliburton.
Haliburton hosted the Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School Hurricanes who were also winless entering play before they won the game 20-7.
A large crowd lined the sidelines (just hours after the school held a pep rally) to watch the team so it was fitting the Hawks showed their quality on the field and in their hearts.
Coach Derek Little acknowledges the team lost on the scoreboard but saw his team win where it mattered most for him.
“I congratulated them … you know what? I heard two profane words as opposed to 22 [from the first game] and guys didn’t lose it on their own players. They weren’t putting people down” he said.
He adds the team will continue to believe in one another which is important on the field and in life.
“Being good people is the message out here. You get to take what you learn in this game into the outside world. We’re not going to be professional football players but we all have to be good people” he said.
Like the Hawks Holy Cross were also short of a full roster and had many of their players playing both sides of the ball. It’s just the way the league is made up as there are some programs that are much stronger than others. He points out Holy Cross still has twice as many students to fill out their roster.
That said the disparity is apparent with Peterborough programs remaining strong and able to field large skilled teams that dominate. It’s an unfortunate inequality but that hasn’t discouraged Little who believes football is still a game where boys can have fun.
The score of the game could have been much closer if not for some mistakes and bad bounces.
Little adds that one of the Hurricanes touchdowns came from two missed attempts by Hawks players to pick up a fumble.
On two successive offensive series where the Hawks were moving the ball well there was a turnover negating the scoring chance.
“Then all of a sudden your defence gets left out there and when you have few bodies that’s a challenge and we couldn’t overcome it. But we’ll get better” he said.
The lone score for the Hawks came from a 65 yard pass by Rylan Gwyn to Matt Manning who also added the extra-point convert. This touchdown made it close 12-7 in the second half. However the Hurricanes scored a touchdown for insurance and then added a safety for the final.
With just 19 rostered players he recognizes there will be assignments missed from so few being relied on to do so much. He appreciates the effort nonetheless.
“They’re doing their best. You get a broken play and it ends up seven points the other way but that’s OK. Those things you live and learn and we grow” he said.
“It was a great positive experience. The kids even said at the end of the game ‘it works a lot better when we’re having fun.’ We’re working together. We’re starting to work together and that’s really our goal. Sure you want to win but the fact that these kids come out here and [they] put [their] hearts into it and we’ll get better.”
Their next three games will be test of stamina and conditioning for the Hawks who will play these games separated by only a few days. Attitude will be key Little said.
“The message has always been. It’s easier to feel like you’re in good condition when you’re having fun so keep smiling” he said.