The first half of Saturday's football season opener between the ECS Elecs and Weyburn Eagles was full of entertainment, and the Elecs were very much in the game.
That all changed in the second half, and the Estevan Comprehensive School side went down to defeat, 36-8.
The Elecs trailed by only four points at the half, 12-8, but constant penalties and an inability to get anything going offensively buried them in the second half.
"We started the game really well," said Elecs head coach Mark Schott. "Our offence was moving the ball well, defence was getting some key stops for us. Our special teams was also getting some good returns and good tackles downfield. We really started well and then things just didn't really go our way in the second half."
Quarterback Kolby Fleury distributed the ball with authority in the first half, completing several long passes and making good use of his receivers.
"They moved the ball through the air really well. The receivers were catching and doing a really good job getting up the field. Kolby Fleury was doing a great job getting the ball to the open receivers," said Schott.
However, he struggled in the second half and completed 7-of-20 for 132 yards on the day, with two interceptions.
Defensive jack-of-all-trades Jeremy Godfrey had a strong start to the game, with a fumble recovery and several key tackles.
"He was great for us all game. He battled through some bumps and bruises there and fought through it," said Schott. "He was great with fumble recoveries and knockdowns, sacks, he was all over the field. It was great to see."
The Eagles got on the board first in the inaugural meeting between the two teams, kicking a 25-yard field goal with six minutes left in the first quarter.
About three minutes later, an Elecs penalty spotted the ball at the one-yard line and Eagles quarterback Kirk Winter punched it for a 10-0 lead.
On the last play of the first quarter, Fleury hooked up with receiver Ian Ferguson on a 33-yard passing play to the Weyburn 8.
Early in the second, Fleury rolled right and hit Evan Tarnes with an eight-yard pass for a touchdown. Tarnes was the go-to guy again on the two-point convert to make it 10-8.
Late in the first half, a botched punt return and a penalty had the Elecs backed up deep in their own territory, and Fleury was brought down in the end zone for a safety.
Aaron Wakely saved a possible touchdown on the last play of the half, picking off Winter deep in ECS territory and running it all the way to the Eagles' 35. There was a penalty on the play, but it was declined. Wakely had another interception later on, but it was wiped out by a penalty.
It was all Weyburn in the second half, and the Elecs got very familiar with orange flags. They took 11 penalties for 82 yards in the game, more than doubling the Eagles on both counts.
"We were definitely undisciplined and it's something that we'll need to address," said Schott. "It was huge. We'd stop them and then get a penalty and it advanced them for a first down. Any time you give up penalties like that that result in a first down, that's definitely going to cost you."
Winter started the Weyburn barrage early in the third quarter on a 32-yard rushing major. The Eagles later went ahead 26-8 on a five-yard rush with under two minutes to play in the quarter.
A 66-yard rushing major widened the gap with 9:42 left in the game, and the Eagles kicked a 22-yard field goal with 3:38 left to close out the scoring.
Winter did it all for Weyburn, rushing for 76 yards on 13 carries and also completing 5-of-10 for 68 yards.
The Eagles racked up 259 rushing yards and 327 total. ECS had 169 total yards, the vast majority of them through the air.
Schott said everything seemed to go wrong in the second half.
"All phases of the game, we just took a step back in the second half. Offence was struggling to move the ball. Their team stepped up too. They made some adjustments at halftime, and they're an excellent team. We just weren't able to adapt to what they were doing in the second half."
He added that some players still weren't sure where they were supposed to be at times.
"All those sorts of things are things that we should know and that we need to know in a game. We can't be not knowing where we're supposed to be in a game. That's too late."
The Elecs' second game of the season is tomorrow in Moose Jaw as they take on the A.E. Peacock Tornados.