Penalty trouble during a late offensive charge stopped the Lacombe Composite High School Rams from finally capturing their first win of the regular season.
On a chilly Friday evening at MEGlobal Athletic Park, the Rams dropped a 9-7 decision to the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Raiders, despite being in prime scoring position in the final minutes of the game.
“I think I jumped the gun a little bit. I probably should’ve gone for the first down on third and one, or kicked the field goal but, the heck – it’s high school football, man,” said Rams Head Coach Brian Ross.
“It’s one of those things where the hype of the moment has a tendency to overrun intelligence sometimes. Both teams faced it and we took some stupid penalties and they took some stupid penalties, but that’s the way it goes.”
The Raiders struck early in the first quarter with a safety, although the Rams nearly took the lead with just over three minutes left in the frame as quarterback Mitch Simmons faked a pass to open up a lane down the right side of the field and carry the ball into the endzone, but the touchdown was called back on a penalty, and their second and third attempts to make the run again fell short and they’d turn possession over on downs.
The Raiders wouldn’t have much better luck – at least not until about eight minutes into the second when Raiders quarterback Joel Collings pushed his way into the endzone and the Rams headed to the dressing room at the half down 9-0.
In the third quarter, the Rams put steady pressure on the Raiders, but were unable to make anything of it. Fortunately, they were able to block a field goal attempt, and intercept a few snaps to stop their opponents from increasing their lead.
In the fourth, they generated more scoring opportunities and with 5:43 left in the game, Simmons would force his way through his Raiders opponents for a touchdown. While the Rams would intercept a Raiders’ pass, and Zach Schwab and Takoda Dennis would make a series of offensive gains, the Raiders would stop Gabe Hiebert from receiving a pass in the endzone, and minutes later would do the same to Zachary Rivers on what could have been the game-winning touchdown.
Penalties, however, would set them outside of scoring range, and the Raiders would take possession and secure a 9-7 final.
While the Rams still came out on the losing end – their second straight loss against city league teams – the close score was something Ross was happy about.
“It was probably as good of a high school game, defensively, as you’re going to see in a long time,” Ross said. “It would’ve been nice to see the offence do a little bit more on our side, anyway, but I was pretty happy with it.”
The Rams will now head on the road to face the Lloydminster team that was among the top crews in the country until they suffered a bout of injuries. That game will be played Oct. 4, and after that, they’ll play in their final regular season game against the Notre Dame High School Cougars in Red Deer Oct. 11. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m.