RUNNING IN THE RAIN Steelers running back Ryley Richardson races past the Guard Dogs defence. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
The wind, rain and Wainwright Guard Dogs couldn’t stop the Lloydminster peewee Steelers from finally capturing that elusive first win.
The Steelers outlasted the Guard Dogs for a 35-26 victory at St. Mary’s Elementary School on Sunday.
A cold wind and hard-falling rain tested both clubs from the opening kickoff, but it was the Steelers’ never-stop-battling attitude that lifted them past their opponent and the conditions at the end.
“We lost all our games so far and we just wanted to win,” said Steelers lineman and snapper Jayce Brittner. “So, we just got down and did it. We did what we had to do.”
Guard Dogs quarterback Isaac Valleau got his team off to a quick start with a 28-yard run down the sideline for the game’s first touchdown on his team’s opening possession. Valleau then notched the extra point on a quarterback keep.
Steelers running back Ryley Richardson provided an immediate reply with a 70-yard run to the Guard Dogs five-yard line on their first play with the ball.
Richardson brought the score to 7-6 three snaps later with a punch in from the one.
The back and forth action continued on the following drive with the star quarterback notching his own 70-yard run to the Steelers end zone for a 13-6 lead late in the first quarter.
Valleau scored his third major of the half moments later, which he followed with a pass to Cole Wood for the convert and 20-6 advantage.
The Steelers regained the momentum immediately following halftime thanks to Caleb Walker.
The speedy wide receiver and halfback picked up the ball on the opening kickoff and burst down the middle of the field to the Guard Dogs end zone.
“There was a hole between two of the people in front who were blocking,” said Walker. “I just took that hole.”
A wet ball, cold hands and two smothering defences hurt both teams’ offensive attack following the major.
Walker turned the tide firmly onto the Steelers side near the end of the third quarter by picking off a Valleau pass near midfield and running the ball back to the Guard Dogs 38-yard line.
Steelers quarterback Cayden Hawes marched his team to three yards from the end zone on the possession before handing the ball off to Richardson for the touchdown. Hawes ran the ball in for the convert bringing his club to within one point at 20-19.
Valleau matched the attack on the first drive of the fourth quarter with a 79-yard run up the middle of the field for the major and 26-19 lead.
Steeler Rhett Knelson got his team into scoring position on the ensuing kick by returning the ball to the Guard Dogs 33-yard line.
Hawes ran a perfect quarterback keep four plays later, to score the touchdown with Luke Enstrom kicking the two-point convert through the uprights, for the 27-26 lead with five minutes left to play.
The Steelers stuffed the Guard Dogs next possession to pick up the ball on the opposition’s 30-yard line.
Knelson provided the insurance marker shortly after on a 29-yard dash through the Guard Dogs defence, with Enstrom once again kicking the two-point convert for the 35-26 final.
“This means a lot because it was our first win of the season,” said Walker, whose team moved to 1-3 with the victory.
“We lost to them (last week), so we can take revenge.”