MONCTON, N.B. – The biggest statistic in determining the outcome of a football game, whether it's CFL, NFL, college or atom, is turnovers.
This is what cost the Summerside Cox & Palmer Atom Spartans in a 42-13 loss to the Moncton Saints. The Moncton Minor Football League game was played in Moncton.
"It was a one-touchdown game in the second quarter, but we turned the ball over on three straight possessions on offence, which led to three touchdowns for the Saints and that was the football game," commented Spartans assistant coach Paul Walsh.
Moncton started the scoring when the Spartans fumbled the opening kickoff, and the Saints scored on a long run to quickly go up 6-0.
However, the Spartans responded on their first offensive play as slot receiver Charlie Turner took an end-around for 65 yards to tie the score 6-6.
The Saints added two more touchdowns – one off a fumbled Spartans’ snap – to build an 18-6 lead early in the second quarter.
Summerside, however, did not quit as quarterback Charlie DesRoches hit Turner in the flat on third down. Turner, who received some great downfield blocking, broke free on a 45-yard catch-and-run play to cut the Moncton lead to only 18-13.
This would be the closest the Spartans would get as two more turnovers before the half played a role in the Saints building a commanding 30-13 lead.
"Those turnovers not only led to 28 points for Moncton, but they are huge momentum swings in the game, and we couldn't overcome that tonight (Tuesday),” said Walsh. “We were minus-4 in the turnover department, which is the bottom line."
Summerside's final regular-season game is in Amherst, N.S., against the Wolfpack on Sunday at 2 p.m.
"We need to take care of the football,” said Walsh.
A Spartans’ win will give the first-year team three wins this season.
“That would be a huge accomplishment for this team,” concluded Walsh.