By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter
After all the snow and ice melted away from the winter storm that ran through Strathmore earlier in the week, the Strathmore High School Spartans football team still looked frozen in the first half against the Brooks Composite High School Buffalos Oct. 5 at the high school field.
“We waited too long to start playing tonight,” said Spartans head coach Darrell Hargrove. “We need to find the heart to play a whole game and not just the second half.”
After the Buffalos won the opening coin toss, their first play from scrimmage set the tone for the afternoon, as Zayden Velasco took a handoff to the left, 61 yards down the sideline to the house.
The Buffalos rotated three skinny, strong and fast running backs all game long that tormented the Spartans defence, breaking through into the second layer and then some.
“We had better coverage on them in the second half, but when you have three weapons like that with that kind of speed, it makes it tough for any defence,” said Hargrove. “But now we’ve seen them, so we know what to expect if we run into them in playoffs again.”
The Buffalos spoiled the Spartans first home game since Sept. 1 by jumping out to a 28-0 lead at half on the strength of a pair of touchdowns by Matthew Peterson and a quarterback keep from the six-yard line from Cobey Hofer.
The Spartans last Rangeland Football Conference home game came Sept. 1, when they lost 23-6 to the Crescent Heights High School Vikings.
Back then, Noah Desjardins was the primary play caller for Hargrove.
One month later, and utility back Reid Jensen lined up under centre for the opening drive.
Jensen, the most dynamic weapon offensively for the Spartans, was doing his part to try and break free for a big gain.
The Buffalos were making a concerted effort to try to contain Jensen, not allow him to leak to the outside where he could turn on the jets. Jensen was patient; when he rolled out of the pocket, he would allow his linemen to circle back around and get into position for another series of blocks. Jensen would wait for the opening and shoot the gap.
Progress was being made, and in the third quarter, he finally broke through with an 18-yard touchdown run, burning past a few Buffalo linemen.
In an attempt to keep the Buffalo defence honest, Hargrove drew up a variety of running plays for his two running backs, Matthew Fekkes and Kevin Agboro.
Agboro had five carries and one reception in the second half, totaling over 60 yards of offence.
“Kevin stepped up in the fourth quarter and made an impact with his speed,” said Hargrove. “It was great to get a couple big plays out of him.”
With the score 28-7 in the third, the Spartans had their chances to cut it close, but fell just short.
Jensen took to the air on a 36-yard bomb to Ben Mertz in the end zone, but the ball slipped through his fingertips.
Desjardins took a halfback toss to the right, bringing the ball to the one-yard line with a fresh set of downs.
On the next three plays, the Buffalos harassed Jensen, backing him up all three times, to deny the sophomore quarterback.
The Spartans will hit the drawing board once again as they look to end the regular season on a high note, when they host the Medicine Hat High School Mohawks Oct. 13.
Playoffs begin Oct. 20.