The Rural Manitoba Football League season came to a disappointing end for the Dauphin Clippers, Saturday, with a 26-14 loss to the Interlake Thunder in the league semifinal.
Matthew Zurba had one of Dauphin’s touchdowns, as did Joseph Lopez on a 60-yard interception return. Louis Prevot was good on both converts.
Lopez finished with 120 yards on 10 carries, while Oliver Dandeneau had 49 yards on nine carries.
Defensively, Lopez had seven tackles, one interception and a forced fumble, while Will Miner and Sully Fox each recorded a sack.
Clippers coach Jason Zurba said Interlake played well defensively, shutting down the Clippers offence.
“We just couldn’t move the ball on offence. They were solid on defence. They had big bodies and plugged the holes. They were the better team today,” he said.
Defensively, the Clippers had trouble containing some of the Interlake’s running backs, missing a lot of tackles.
“The boys were trying too hard to make the perfect play,” Zurba said. “That was basics on how to tackle. That was a big contributing factor on a couple of their touchdowns.”
Interlake also took advantage of some key penalties on high tackles, which contributed to their victory. But Zurba pointed out two good teams were playing each other and the better team won.
“I’m not disappointed in the season we had. We played well all year. We just couldn’t move the ball on offence today,” he said.
Although the Clippers will lose a number of players to graduation, they will also have a solid nucleus of returning players back next season. Looking back on the season, Zurba was most pleased with how the team played as a family.
“Everyone played together. You can see right now, the emotion everybody has. They were playing as a family, as one unit,” he said.
Interlake will now face the Moosomin Generals in the league final after the Generals beat the Swan Valley Tigers, 33-26.
The consolation final will pit the Neepawa Tigers against the Southwest Sabres after Neepawa defeated the ParkWest Outlaws, 51-28, and the Sabres beat the Virden Golden Bears, 34-26.