The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School senior football team celebrated after finishing its season with a 28-7 win against the St. Peters Saints Nov. 1.
The Red Hawks’ offence exploded with four touchdowns, putting up more points than the team’s previous five games combined. The team avoided a last-place finish with a win, finishing with a 1-5 record.
The team was out of the playoffs regardless of the outcome. Coach Tim Davies said he asked his players if they wanted to play cautiously and avoid injuries to save themselves for other sports.
“‘Nope, we’re playing coach,’” Davies said about their response. “Thankfully, there were no injuries that I know of. Got a victory out of it. It was a nice way to end the season.”
Tailback Camden Marra had to fill in as a quarterback due to injuries. But he kicked off the scoring in the second quarter with running plays, scoring back-to-back touchdowns and completing a two-point conversion to go up 14-0 at the half.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” Marra said. “The guys were there to help me out and the previous quarterbacks were helping me as well.”
The Red Hawks defence largely contained the Saints in a scoreless third quarter. Marra completed a pass to Desi Davies in the fourth, who ran it in for a touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion.
The Saints would score a touchdown after a costly penalty, but the Hawks came right back to score on the next drive, with Carson Sisson getting a touchdown on a passing play.
Marra credited his blockers for the team’s offensive success.
“Excellent O-line today. The blocking was done well and we had lots of time to let plays develop,” Marra said.
Davies said it is difficult to run a physical-contact program like football with a small number of players, due to injuries. He added ideally there would be 36 players at the beginning of the season, but they only had 24.
“I’ll say this, our kids love their football,” Davies said. “The school population is half the size of what it was in its heyday. You need many bodies.”
He added football is a good sport to run for larger athletes.
“The football program’s for the big fellas,” Davies said. “You don’t win without them. Hats off to our big boys in today’s game, because they’re the reason that we won.”
“We had some injuries that took a toll on the season,” Marra said. “But it’s all about improvement, so that’s what we’re going to do and hopefully we’ll come back stronger next year.”