It's one thing to know, all too well, just how talented an opponent will be. It's a whole other thing altogether to try and slow them down.
Facing the undefeated Peterborough Wolverines Saturday on the road, the Sudbury Jr. Gladiators prepared as best they could. At the end of the day, the scoreboard would read 44-7, with Peterborough improving to 5-0 and Sudbury falling to 2-3.
"They have a really good quarterback, their offensive line is strong, and they have a couple of really quick slotbacks," acknowledged Jr. Gladiators head coach Brandon Dougan. "What we watched on film, they gave us. We game-planned for them."
Running a QB option offence, the Wolverines utilized their natural athleticism to exploit matchups across the field, though Dougan believes the gap between the teams might not be quite as large as the final score indicated.
"We needed our defence to play better," said Dougan. "I think that they still would beat us, but they don't score 44 points if our defence plays the way it is capable of playing."
The only Sudbury touchdown came courtesy of a 38-yard pass from pivot King Gil-Afau to wideout Riley Barbeau, with Mackenzie Campbell making good on the convert.
After pulling Gil-Afau aside for a couple of series simply to watch and learn, Dougan was pleased with some second-half signs.
"He was making better reads, and throwing the ball without worrying about making a mistake," said Dougan of his young Confederation QB.
"He got better, which is a good thing."
Knowing just how tough Peterborough would be, the Jr. Gladiators may have looked forward, just a tad, to a critical home matchup this week with the Huronia Stallions(3-2) making a visit to Sudbury.
"This week's game is huge," said Dougan. "It will be a good, close game."
Huronia enters the game on the heels of a 21-6 victory over the North Halton Crimson Tide last week, with Sudbury having beaten the same opponent 10-9 a couple of weeks earlier.
The Jr. Gladiators will close out the 2014 season with matchups against the Vaughan Rebels(0-5) and North Halton (2-3), in the back end of their home and home set.