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November at PACI Field

“Morley, Morley,” someone called out. I was in the middle of a Senior’s curling game, one played just prior to the Covid shut down. It was Tim Reid who was calling me. Play had stopped for a few minutes.

Tim, a St. Mary Marauder Football graduate of the 1970’s and thus a life long enemy of me – a coach of the Tech Tigers of that same era - strolled over and I deemed it appropriate to talk to this arch rival. Tim was truly a memorable rival – he had been the quarterback of those Marauders in their blue and white uniforms. 

Tim and I have been badgering each other for a long time, mostly on my part, about those days of old.

“What’s up Tim?” I asked. “Is your team winning for once?”

With a grin on his face Tim replied, “Trying. But I just wanted to pause and think back to those battles we had at PACI field. Weren’t they something?”

I replied with a feigned malice in my voice, “Reid, have you ever heard of a twelve man blitz?” For those not versed in football slang, that is when all twelve defensive players try to crash through the opponent’s offence.  Such a blitz would be drastic. It would leave no one to stop the opponent if that team got through the first onslaught. 

Tim replied, “ Twelve man blitz? That’s crazy!”

“Well. I called that once. We, the Tigers, were down by a touchdown with seconds left in the game. We had the other team trapped on their own five yard line. They had to punt. I called 12 man blitz. My defensive captain said, ‘But, but, there will be no one back to receive the punt.’ Yes, I know, I had barked. But if we don’t block that punt and fall on it for a touchdown the game is over anyway. It worked and we did fall on the ball in their end zone – touchdown! 

If we could go back to those days Tim, and you were the opponent and in passing formation, I would call that blitz again – yelling be sure to sack their quarterback.” 

Tim grinned and said, “Too bad. I would get the pass away anyway! But, all kidding aside Morley, those Saturdays were great. Remember the field was packed. The fans were wild. It did not matter if it was rain or snow, they came. The rivalry was incredible; the school spirit fantastic!” 

Tim and I touched elbows, in true Covid style, smiled, and went back to our respective curling matches. 

Yes I do remember those Saturdays. The competition was fierce, the fans were loud and the stands were full.

That bit of nostalgic sharing with Tim Reid was what prompted part of my last “Whale of a Tale” about the Riverside Rams and their Provincial Football Championship of 1970.

The following fall – 1971, the competition was fierce. The Rams fought hard to replicate their achievement. It was not to be. The blue and white St. Mary Marauders won the city, defeating those Rams and then attained the Northern Trophy by overwhelming the Melfort Comets. 

On Remembrance Day, November 11, 1971, St. Mary Marauders found themselves in the Provincial football final against the Moose Jaw Peacock Tornadoes.

The game was played at that good old PACI field, and it lived up to its reputation. It was packed and it was noisy – standing room only.

Even if Moose Jaw resorted to a 12 man blitz, they could not have stopped Tom Chad (four T.D.’s), Jim Mckee (two T.D.’s), Mick Jutras (one T.D.), Clem April (one T.D), Ray Lamontange (one T.D.), and Joe Yuzik (two Field Goals). 

I was at that game on the sidelines, and the stands were packed. At half time the score was 35 to 27 for St. Mary. I spoke briefly with Keith Powell, head coach of the Marauders. He anxiously said to me, “If we can match them touchdown for touchdown now, we can have the trophy.” 

Keith need not have worried. He and his coaching staff of Jim Lyons, Bob Miller, and volunteer community coaches devised a second half strategy that saw St. Mary score 28 unanswered points. Final score 63 to 27.

Prince Albert teams brought home the Provincial Football Trophy two years in a row. 

Those two teams that did us so proud, first the Riverside Rams (1970) and then the St. Mary Marauders (1971), deserve to be remembered  - and they are.  

Both teams were inducted into The Prince Albert Sport’s Hall of Fame on the same evening in 2008.

Yes Tim Reid, PACI Field was truly the site of great crowds, great school spirit, great battles, and great memories.

It also must have created sportsmanship. Both teams gave each other a standing ovation at that banquet in 2008.

May 2021 cause us all to stand and applaud as well!

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Wednesday January 12, 2022