The Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs football team won the biggest game in the 11-year history of the program, and brought home a title in the process.
The Elecs shut out the host Moose Jaw Peacock Tornadoes 23-0 Saturday afternoon in the Tier 2 final of the Moose Jaw Minor Football League.
This year marked the first time that the league has had a Tier 2 final. The top four teams in the seven-team league were placed in Tier 1, while the fifth to seventh place teams were in Tier 2. ECS was sixth in the regular season.
“I’m really proud of the group,” coach Mark Schott told the Mercury. “They worked hard and played an excellent game. A large part of this group has been together for quite a long time, through minor football and multiple years with the Elecs. I’m just happy for the team that they got this result and this championship.”
ECS jumped out to an early 9-0 lead. They scored on their opening possession on a play in which the ball went through a Moose Jaw defender’s hands and right to Elecs wide receiver Chase Martel, who went on to score a 42-yard touchdown. Ilya Korita booted a 23-yard field goal on the next possession.
Neither team scored again until the fourth quarter.
Running back Jonah Bachorcik scored 30 seconds into the final frame on an 82-yard touchdown reception. Seventy-six seconds later, quarterback Kaleb Bechtold added to the lead with a seven-yard run.
Bachorcik finished with 84 yards rushing on 14 carries and 82 yards receiving off of the one reception.
The defence forced numerous turnovers, with three interceptions, four fumble recoveries and a couple of turnovers of downs.
“Our defence was phenomenal. They held Peacock in check until our offence could get rolling and we were able to put up some more points in the second half,” said Schott.
The Elecs defence held Moose Jaw to eight first downs and 168 yards of total offence during the game.
“We were right in their face the whole game, and it was a great defensive effort on our part,” said Schott. “It took a while, but the offence got rolling and we were able to connect on plays that we needed to, and put up points in the fourth quarter to close out the game.”
Korita was great as the kicker for the Elecs this season, as he connected on a couple of field goals in the playoffs – the first two for ECS in a decade.
Peacock defeated Estevan 27-7 in the opening game of the regular season. Schott believes the biggest difference for ECS was execution at the right time, especially on offence.
“Peacock was sending seven or eight guys on every play,” said Schott. “That was a lot to ask of our offence to block and give Kaleb Bechtold some time back there to make some plays, and we struggled with that at times. In the second half we finally were able to connect on some plays that were there for us in the first half.”
Schott believes the new tiered playoff system is a positive development for the league. ECS has found itself as the lower seed in playoff games before.
“This leads to some exciting football, and I think that’s the way we should stick with it going forward,” he said.
Schott also hopes this victory will be big for the Elecs program. The team has generated excitement and energy within the school and community, which he hopes will result in more players wanting to join the team.
“That will help us retain players and recruit players, and that can be a huge step for us moving forward.”
ECS will lose 13 players to graduation from this year’s team. There are some key players graduating this year, but with a roster of more than 40 players, they’ll have a strong contingent of returning talent.
The Elecs wrapped up their season with their awards night on Nov. 4. For more on the awards, please visit www.estevanmercury.ca or check out this week’s edition of Lifestyles.
Schott also noted that defensive back Hunter Eagles was named the top defensive player in the league by the coaches, the first time an Elecs player has won a league-wide award selected by the other coaches.