The Lacombe Composite High School Rams aren’t taking the easy road in preparing for the regular season.
On Friday, the team fell 21-14 to the Joane Cardinal-Schubert High School Ravens from Calgary at MEGlobal Field in a difficult game against what Head Coach Brian Ross says was their most challenging opponent yet.
“This is the first real adversary we’ve seen. They were ferocious, they were strong, they were big, and they were as athletic as us,” said Ross.
“I think when you break it down, it’s a much bigger school against a much smaller school. I don’t want to make any excuses – they’re well coached, they seem like good kids. Our dudes are just not used to getting punched in the mouth a little bit.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Ravens struck first after the Rams fumbled a pass near their six-yard mark. The Rams then pushed the Ravens back to their own endzone, however, on a third down, and would-be touchdown, quarterback Mitch Simmons wasn’t able to complete a pass to waiting reciever Zach Schwab and the Ravens would have their 7-0 lead remain.
On the last play of the half, however, Cody Melnychuk intercepted a pass and ran over 60 yards to tie the game with a Cole Lardner conversion.
In the third quarter, Gabe Hiebert put the team ahead 14-7 with 8:19 left in the frame. It looked like the Rams would extend that lead, but once again, were foiled near the Ravens endzone as Simmons tried to run the ball in, and was not only intercepted, but had the Ravens run the length of the field to once again even the score.
Late in the fourth, one of the Ravens’ receivers would push up the middle and score their third, and game-winning touchdown.
While the Rams were on the losing end of the 21-14 final, Ross is liking the look of his team after two exhibition games.
“Defensively, I think that’s where out strength is going to lie. Offensively, our strength is giong to lie with Mitch Simmons and how he’s able to navigate getting out of the pocket and creating soem stuff as the quarterback. Today was a tough day for him – he face more pressure than he would’ve last week so it rattled him a little bit, but he’s OK. He’ll bounce back,” said Ross.
“We’re going to be a work in progress for awhile. I think we’re going to be tougher in the central Alberta league than people are giving us credit for and I look forward to seeing the Red Deer teams.”
They have one more exhibition game on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. against Innisfail at MEGlobal Field, but it will have a different format that what the team is used to, followed by their first regular season of the game against Hunting Hills High School on Friday, Sept. 20.
“It’s a nine-man game against Innisfail…I’m going to have to do my homework this week. We’ll play it Thursday, take Friday off and give the kids a long weekend before preparing for Hunting Hills on the 20th,” said Ross.
“They’ve been the strength (of the league) for a few years now. It’s a nice way to go into the season and knock off the big dogs.”
Season schedule is as follows:
- Sept. 12 vs. Innisfail at 7:30 p.m., MEGlobal Field (9 Man)
- Sept. 20 vs. Hunting Hills High School at 7:30 p.m., MEGlobal Field
- Sept. 27 vs. Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School at 7:30 p.m., MEGlobal Field
- Oct. 4 @ Lloydminster
- Oct. 11 @ Notre Dame High School at 4:30 p.m.
- Playoffs begin Oct. 25