Rams one away from all the way
Ryker Lunn, #64, and a teammate take down their Notre Dame Cougars opponent during high school football league semifinal action at MEGlobal Athletic Park on Friday, Oct. 27. The Rams defeated the Cougars 43-28 and now move on to face the Hunting Hills Lightning in the final this weekend. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The Lacombe Rams football team is just one win away from going all the way.
Starting off slow against the Notre Dame Cougars last Friday - as has been the case all season - the Rams found their momentum in the second quarter and stampeded past their semifinal opponents 43-28 at MEGlobal Athletic Park.
It’s a momentum they hope - or rather promise - to bring to the final.
“It’s great because the Rams haven’t been good in awhile. It’s great to finally be back to the league championship, which I guarantee we win,” said Rams receiver Matt Darnell, echoing comments made by teammate Richard Jans the week before.
“We’re confident. We have a great offensive line with Wyatt (Glover) and Dave and those guys, Zach (Schwab), our running back, Johnny our quarterback and Simon (Gray) churning out offence. I think we have the best offence in the league.”
He just might be right - Friday’s game was one of the Rams more complete games this season, with much of the team firing on all cylinders, including Darnell who made two touchdowns - the first of which tied the game after the Cougars went ahead 7-0 early in the game, and paved the way for a field goal shortly after to give the hometown team a 10-7 lead.
The Cougars bounced back with a second touchdown, but by the half, Richard Jans and Simon Gray had added two more tallies to give the Rams a 23-14 lead, which would remain until the fourth quarter, when the Cougars struck early to bring them within two points of the Rams’ lead.
It was then that the Rams picked up their offensive game, but Darnell said he never had any doubts.
“I was a little nervous, but I knew we would come through - we always pull through adversity,” he said. “We’ve always been a second half team. Our grade has always been a second half team. I wish we could start off a little faster sometimes, but it’s still good. If we can score touchdowns that’s all we need.”
Gray, Evan Standish and Darnell would all land touchdowns before the Cougars slipped one past with less than 40 seconds left in the game, when a comeback was out of reach.
The Rams will now face their biggest challenge this season in the undefeated Hunting Hills Lightning - the only team to hand them losses this season.
Last week, the Lightning made quick work of the Lindsay Thurber Raiders, dropping them 30-7.
Rams Head Coach Jason Petrie reiterated he felt there were chinks in the Lightning’s armour.
“They’re not invincible,” he said. “They’re very fast, they execute well, but we match up better with them than we do anyone else in the league as far as what we do and what they do.
“What’s it going to take? Execution and a belief they can do it. That’s what it’s going to take.”