The YRHS Raider Gridders senior football team have made their first two wins on the season look easy.
Following beating the Moose Jaw Vanier Vikings 59-7 last week, the Raider Gridders chased the Swift Current Colts out of town on Saturday in a 58-16 shellacking.
Coach Jason Boyda, who stepped in as head coach while Roby Sharpe was away for a week on an education trip, gives credit to his players’ work ethic for their strong 2-0 start.
“The players worked their buts off in the offseason with their winter workouts,” he said. “They came into training camp in pretty good shape and their commitment to the program has paid off.”
Without Sharpe on the sidelines, Boyda noticed a little less energy in the atmosphere.
“He’s full of energy, and most of it is positive, so it was a bit quieter out there,” he said.
The Raider Gridders took control of the game right of the bat, closing out the first quarter with a 23-7 lead. From there, they kept on rolling with 17 more points in the second frame.
Boyda believes the combination of his team’s win from last week and ample opportunity on the offense to start this game are what ultimately snowballed their great start.
“We were able to get more reps, and in the game of football the more you do it the better you come out of it,” said Boyda. “The guys were confident in their plays and especially in this game I thought our timing was better (than last week).”
Yorkton’s offense went onto tally 627 yards in total, including 441 on the ground.
Quarterback David Balysky shinned in just his second game behind centre, running for 75 yards on six rushes and hitting six of his 13 passes with a handful of them dropped passes.
“We’re really happy with how he’s played,” said Boyda on Balysky. “He’s got great legs and works well in our system.”
Alex Popoff was Balysky’s most dangerous wide receiver, catching three passes for 110 yards.
“Popoff is outstanding – I like to call him a Megatron like (Detroit Lions WR) Calvin Johnson,” said Boyda. “That guy catches anything and he has good speed and great hands. All he needs is that little wiggle room and he’s gone.”
On the defensive side of things, the Raider Gridders held the Colts to only 109 yards. They allowed 111 in the air pushed them back two yards on the ground.
“Our defensive line and linebackers were great,” said Boyda. “They forced them to throw because they couldn’t generate anything while running the ball.”
In high school football where talented kickers are hard to come by, Bo Chiasson emerged as the Raider Gridders’ secret weapon. He nailed three of his four field goal attempts, with his longest three-point marker from the 37-yard line.
“Now with our offense, we know we can come away with three points,” said Boyda. “We don’t really have to force the ball down the field and we can play a bit conservative. It gives us a big advantage to put up points in situations where we just can’t punch it in.”
The contest was Chiasson’s first in his football career, but it won’t be his last.
“He’s going to be fulltime,” said Boyda on the soccer player turned football kicker. “He made a commitment and he’s huge for us. It’s a big advantage to have a guy that can kick a long field goal.”
In the Raider Gridders’ next test against Moose Jaw Central on Saturday, Boyda wants his team to head into the road game healthy and clean up the unnecessary penalties.
“Well, number one, we got some guys that are nicked up so we got to make sure we’re healthy,” he said. “Number two, we got to clean up those penalties – offside penalties like that happen, but that other extracurricular stuff we got to clean up. We just got to learn how to keep our emotions in check.”