While the playoffs are out of reach for the Sault Storm, the club has regrouped and look to end the year on a positive note and build for next season.
The Storm reeled off their second consecutive victory in shutout fashion at Rocky DiPietro Field Saturday night by hammering the Milton Marauders 29-0 to improve to 2-5 in the Northern Football Conference.
Last week the Storm, featuring one of the NFC's best defenses when dressing a full line-up, blanked the Sudbury Spartans on the road 7-0.
After a slow start to the season and the team's playoff hopes fading, some players began to bail out on the club. What was a 40-plus man roster has dwindled to a core group of around 25 players.
But these core guys have begun to bond as a group. While expecting this small of a group to be successful is not realistic, the team is learning where the commitment and dedication is coming from. Players have expressed that those who bailed would not be welcomed back.
Against Milton, the resilient Toby Traveson had a huge game for the Storm, rushing the ball 13 times for 148 yards while receiving a pair of passes for 50 yards.
Traveson opened the scoring late in the first quarter on a nifty 97 yard touchdown run. Kyle Lansdell would put the Storm 10-0 to close the half after kicking a 29 yard field goal and a single off a missed field goal, both in the half's final 11 seconds.
The hapless Marauders were already a beaten team by the time the second half started. In fact the only offense the team could muster was during a drive late in the game after a drop in the Storm intensity level.
Kegan Franklin, who was a defensive standout, also saw time in the backfield and opened the second half scoring with a 26 yard touchdown run.
Lansdell would complete the game's final two scoring plays on an 18 yard touchdown reception from quarterback Seth Cond and a 29 yard touchdown run to go with a convert.
In all, the Storm pounded Milton for 373 yards total offense including 278 on the ground. If the Storm hadn't collected 140 yards in penalties the damage could have been much worse.
Defensively, the Storm held Milton to a stingy 79 yards of total offense and three first downs. More than half of Milton's offensive output came in their final drive.
Franklin led the defensive charge with seven tackles and a sack. Brandon Lewis recorded 7.5 tackles while Mark Orlando made 3.5 and Lee Cond three. Fumble recoveries were collected by Wade Kraft, Jordy Madore and Steve Roberts while Troy Boyer made an interception.
Although the Storm is currently on a high, a harsh dose of reality could hit by this Saturday. Nine-time defending NFC champion Oakville Longhorns will visit Rocky DiPietro Field in a 7 p.m. start.