By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter
The Holy Cross Collegiate Hawks football program were blanked in their latest Alberta 6 Man league game.
What would have been even bigger news was if the Hawks were blanked 6-0 by the Heritage Christian Hawks with star running back Jayden Hendricks in the lineup.
Hendricks was absent during the Oct. 5 meeting in Calgary. He was recovering from a lower-body injury sustained one week earlier and wasn’t healthy enough to return to the lineup.
“Jayden was on the fringe of returning, but he erred on the side of caution,” said HCC head coach Michael Annicchiarico. “We’re not even halfway through our season yet and he has a long hockey season after this, too. We just want him to get the proper rest and return when he is ready.”
Without HCC’s touchdown machine, the Hawks struggled to stitch together long drives with players new to football lining up in the skilled positions.
Heritage Christian broke the 0-0 deadlock in the third quarter at the end of the long drive, but missed the convert. They caught HCC off guard to start the fourth with an onside kick, chewing up the majority of the clock with a churning ground game.
The shut out is coming on the heels of the Hawks first road loss of the season, when they fell 32-18 to the Caroline School Cougars Sept. 28 in Caroline.
To say the Hawks 0-3 start wasn’t what the coaching staff envisioned of their second season back in the summer wouldn’t be a stretch. But to say it has been a disappointment would be an exaggeration.
“The offence has been a bit of a challenge so far. It’s no excuse, but we have had to deal with a number of injuries,” said Annicchiarico. “On the flip side, our defence has been pretty strong. We are holding teams to three or four touchdowns per game. We just need to start finishing off some offensive drives and things will start to turn around.”
The Hawks kick off the second half of the season against the defending provincial champion St. Joseph’s Collegiate Crusaders Oct. 12 at HCC Field.
“I know they have lost a few key players this year but they are still a dominant program that has won many games this year quite comfortably,” said Annicchiarico. “We are definitely going to be an underdog, but we are excited for the challenge and hopefully we have a full roster.”