Ready for a fight

The P.E.I. Pri­va­teers are look­ing to knock off the de­fend­ing league cham­pi­ons.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY CHARLES REID

Don’t lament that the P.E.I. Pri­va­teers tan­gle with the pow­er­house Saint John Wan­der­ers in Mar­itime Football League play­off ac­tion Satur­day in Saint John, N.B.

If you want to help in the semi­fi­nal game, which starts at 3 p.m., hope P.E.I. get the solid start it wants and keep the league-lead­ing Wan­der­ers in check.

“We have come out hard, dom­i­nate the point of at­tack... take on our blocks,” said Zach David­son, Pri­va­teers de­fen­sive end. “Make them know we aren’t just com­ing out to lose, that we’re here for a fight.”

Saint John went 6-0 in the reg­u­lar sea­son, in­clud­ing a 48-14 drub­bing of P.E.I. last month in Char­lot­te­town, and outscored op­po­nents 213-56. It’s also the three-time de­fend­ing MFL champ.

P.E.I. fin­ished 2-4 and in fourth place in the five-team cir­cuit this year af­ter a 2-0 start, but in­juries and player com­mit­ments pulled away some of its keys guys for sev­eral weeks.

Quar­ter­back Chris (Tex) Mutch missed three games with an an­kle in­jury and in a sum­mer league heav­ily ros­tered by stu­dents, jobs of­ten come first and cam leave teams de­pleted.

It’s a re­al­ity lost on Pri­va­teers head coach Ver­non MacIn­tyre. He said those fac­tors put play­ers in roles they aren’t ac­cus­tomed to and im­pacts the team as the game wears on.

“Our start­ing quar­ter­back went down, start­ing run­ning backs go down, if af­fects your num­bers. It makes a dif­fer­ence in the fourth quar­ter,” said MacIn­tyre. “These are young men go­ing to col­lege and univer­sity, they have to work sea­sonal jobs, they have to get paid.”

But there is still a game to play and MacIn­tyre knows he needs his team ready and fo­cused.

“The big thing is just to keep our emo­tions in check early,” he said.

Mutch is a for­mer league MVP and drives the Pri­va­teers of­fence. He’s in Satur­day af­ter a slow out­ing in a 33-7 loss last Satur­day in Nova Sco­tia.

Mutch said the of­fen­sive key is to mix things up against a very good Saint John de­fence.

“We have to spread the ball around and keep them guess­ing. Ob­vi­ously, we can’t af­ford to turn the ball over. Ball se­cu­rity is a big deal. And we have to get points on ev­ery of­fen­sive pos­ses­sion,” said Mutch, adding a good run­ning game will help P.E I.’s wide re­ceivers by draw­ing Wan­der­ers de­fend­ers away from the pass­ing lanes and into run sup­port. “Then we’ll go out­side and over the top.”

The other semi has the Fred­er­ic­ton Gla­di­a­tors (3-2-1) host­ing the Nova Sco­tia Buc­ca­neers (2-3-1). Game time is 4 p.m.

Win­ners move on to the Moose­head Bowl fi­nal hosted by the high­est re­main­ing seed.

On the web at www.mar­itime­foot­ball.pointstreak­


Chad Blan­chard, right, pre­pares to catch a pass dur­ing P.E.I. Pri­va­teers prac­tice Wed­nes­day in Char­lot­te­town.


P.E.I. Pri­va­teers quar­ter­back Chris (Tex) Mutch throws some passes dur­ing prac­tice Wed­nes­day.

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