Grande Prairie Centaurs win Division 2 provincial title against Calgary Hornets

Grande Prairie Centaurs winger Josh Hoekstra (left) and Tyson Gejdos (right) in Edmonton Rugby Union action from last month. The Centaurs picked up a provincial trophy after an eight-point win over the Calgary Hornets at Ellerslie Rugby Park in Edmonton on Saturday afternoon. The club won 14 of 15 games this season, capping a summer that won’t soon be forgotten. Gordon Anderson / Daily Herald Tribune

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The Grande Prairie Centaurs picked up another title, winning the Division 2 rugby provincial crown after a 40-32 victory over the Calgary Hornets at Ellerslie Rugby Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Centaurs spent the entire summer focused on one goal—to win the Edmonton Rugby Union title. After that, everything else was just like a padding the stats in a high-scoring scenario.

(Winning the provincials), it’s better in its own way,” Centaurs Captain Tyson Gejdos said. “The league championship was something we’ve been working on for years and (the provincial title) is the icing on the cake. It’s nice to know we’re the top team in the province and we went as far as we could.”

Fitting for the local 15s, they built an early lead, heading into the break with a 35-15 advantage.

Although the thanksgiving holiday isn’t until next week, the club can be thankful they have Gus Fai at the helm. The Centaurs Head Coach seems to know what to do in every scenario. He never panics and he doesn’t allow his players too, either. Even when the Hornets pushed the envelope, the coach held his guys together.

We hung in there, stuck to our basics and made sure we continued (to do) our jobs,” Fai said.

And then the whistle blew and the Centaurs were provincial champions.

‘Yes,” Fai said with a slight pause. “Yes, it’s a good feeling.”

To win it all, it almost seems like everything went right,” Gejdos said. “We did deal with a lot of adversity with scheduling conflicts and had a number of injuries the guys had to fight through. We had guy step up into positions when we never thought they’d be in. It all worked.”

A sense of purpose

 Through out the season, the Centaurs developed a easy-going swagger, a sense of confidence, always believing a win was there for the taking. The club got to a point where they played the game in typical manner and the opposition were the ones who had to adjust.

Despite another champion staring across from them on Saturday, the club knew they were the better side. Hoisting a trophy up high justified the rationality of strength.

The captain will tell you they’d win every time. Such goes with confidence.

We went in and played our game and we knew if we did those things, no one could beat us,” Gejdos said. “It was pretty neat, we’ve never played or watched (the Hornets) before. We didn’t know what to expect but they didn’t, either. We came out flying and I think we shocked them and their fans.”

Believe in winning

This club never lacked for confidence, not for a moment, as the captain explained.

The winning mentality started in pre-season, not in the middle of a game or (during) the season, its something we came in prepared for and we were really set on winning,” Gejdos said. “There was no other choice. We’re going to be the best and every team that played us was going to have a nightmare.”

For Fai

 Fai is the question mark in the sentence, the pause before the break. Excuse the rhyme, but Fai is a nice guy but he’s also a hard ass.

And for good reason.

I always look for perfection and keep my boys on their toes,” Fai said. “Just because we were winning by 50 points doesn’t mean we have to slack off. The hard bit is keeping them on their toes, focusing on the little stuff.”

And it took near perfection to get 14 wins from 15 games. Through out the season the team wasn’t perfect and the coach always talked about imperfection. Reminders are always a great refrain in a season for the rugby ages.

(Fai is) where it all starts, he’s a lot of it,” Gejdos said. “ He’s created a legacy for himself here.”

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