The ECS Elecs knew it would take everything they had to upset the Yorkton Raiders in their Moose Jaw High School Football League quarter-final game on Saturday in Yorkton.
After a decent start, an incident in the first half took away the Elecs' focus and the Raiders would romp to a 68-6 victory, ending the season for the ECS squad.
The Elecs gave up a pick-six to Yorkton on their opening drive, but managed to respond before long with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Kolby Fleury to receiver Evan Tarnes.
Later in the half, with Yorkton ahead 13-6, came what appeared to be the turning point of the game.
With the Raiders marching the ball downfield, Colton Bachorcik came up with an interception on the Elecs' two-yard line and received what head coach Mark Schott called "a controversial hit" as he was running it back.
"Our guys kinda lost their focus and became unravelled a bit. Once you start thinking about getting even, your focus isn't on football anymore," said Schott.
"Yorkton put three more touchdowns on the board before half ... it was unfortunate that our team reacted the way they did and Yorkton was able to jump out to the lead that they did at the half."
The points kept piling up on the home side of the scoreboard in the second half.
"I think our guys came out more focused in the second half, but we got into such a big hole that it was difficult to climb out of," said Schott. "We started taking more risks hoping that they'd pay off. Some of those risks resulted in interceptions or big plays (by Yorkton) as a result of blitzes. We were in a position where we had to start taking some risks and hope we could turn things around."
Schott said part of the Raiders' game plan revolved around shutting down Elecs receiver Ian Ferguson, who has been a critical part of the team's offence this season.
"They were double-teaming him pretty much every play. We were doing a decent job of finding other open receivers, but unfortunately some of them had some drops, which stalled our drives," he said.
"Yorkton's a good team. They have the best offence and the best defence in the league, so we knew we were going to be in tough and that we needed to play a really strong game to give ourselves a chance."
It was the second game between the two teams in a span of five days, as ECS also visited Yorkton on Oct. 9 in their regular season finale.
The Raiders won 42-16, with both Elecs touchdowns coming on quarterback sneaks by Fleury.
Schott said the players also had trouble keeping themselves collected in that game after Ferguson caught a pass, got hung up at the one-yard line and reached across the goal line, when the ball popped loose. It was ruled a fumble recovered by Yorkton.
"We needed to do a better job of staying composed both on Tuesday and Saturday," Schott said.
With the Elecs going winless this season, after winning three games and making it to the league semifinals in 2011, Schott said there were a few issues in particular that held the team back.
"Offensively, we needed to do a better job of finishing drives. We were able to move the ball well in the middle of the field, but we had difficulty punching the ball into the end zone when we really needed the score," he said.
"Defensively, we struggled at times with our coverage and our tackling. When we were in need of a big play on defence, it didn't always happen."
The Elecs will lose close to 20 players to graduation, including the likes of Fleury, Ferguson, Bachorcik (a primary option at running back), receiver Evan Tarnes, linebacker Jeremy Godfrey and lineman Nolan Tide.