SUMMERSIDE – The 2016 football season is winding down on P.E.I.
The Summerside Waterwise Spartans and Summerside Cooke Insurance Clippers will host their final regular-season home games at Eric Johnston Field on Friday.
The Spartans will host the Kings County Steelers at 6 p.m., while the Clippers entertain the Souris Wildcats at 8 p.m.
The Spartans, who are unbeaten at 4-0 (won-lost) in the Papa John’s P.E.I. Bantam Tackle Football League, will look to rebound from a near second-half collapse against the Cornwall Timberwolves on Friday night. The Spartans built a 26-0 lead at halftime, but had to hold on for a 26-20 victory at the Terry Fox Sports Complex in Cornwall.
"You can't turn the ball over three times, have 10 penalties, and expect to win games," commented Spartans offensive co-ordinator Paul Power. "We were lucky we still ended up on the winning end, and we need to clean up these mental mistakes before the playoffs arrive.”
Defensively, the Spartans are looking forward to the return of linebacker Sahib Singh, who has been out all season with an ankle injury.
"Hibby is a big part of our defence, and is a three-year player for us,” said Spartans defensive co-ordinator Jeff MacDonald. “He brings leadership, experience, speed, and can cover any receiver or tight end in the league.”
The unbeaten Clippers (4-0) are hoping to continue to improve on both sides of the ball against the Wildcats.
Defensively, the Clippers have only given up 27 points, but will need to shut down the Wildcats’ outside running game.
"We got burned three times down in Souris because of our outside containment and bad tackling," commented Clippers defensive co-ordinator Brian Doucet. "I think we have improved since Week 2, and you should see better play on the defensive side of the ball."
Summerside is the varsity league’s top scoring team, and head coach and offensive co-ordinator John Turner attributes that to the team's commitment and depth.
"We have seven receivers who all can catch the ball, and three running backs that each have a different skill set, so we can run a variety of plays with this depth we have at the skilled positions," added Turner. "However, it's the blocking up front with our O-line and tight end that makes our offence successful.
“Our execution is getting better every week, but we need to stay away from the penalties, which was a problem last week (in Cornwall)."