LCHS Rams shutout in season opener

Mitch Simmons of the Lacombe Rams is taken down by his Medicine Hat Mohawk opponent during high school football action at M.E.Global Athletic Park on Saturday afternoon. The Rams fell 44-0 to the Mohawks. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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The Lacombe Composite High School (LCHS) Rams got off to a rough start as they were shutout by the Medicine Hat Mohawks.

In what was their first field action of the season, the Rams fell 44-0 to their opponents Saturday afternoon at M.E.Global Athletic Park, highlighting some of the growing pains the team is likely to go through as they adjust to a loss of skilled veteran players who graduated.

“It’s not unexpected. I knew Medicine Hat was going to be strong and I think we showed where we have come glaring weaknesses, which is certainly with our line play,” said Ram Head Coach Brian Ross. “We just have inexperienced guys that have to learn to grow into their position.”

It didn’t take long after kickoff for the Mohawks to take charge, with a touchdown off the Rams’ opening punt. Shortly after, the Mohawks added a safety and then another couple of touchdowns to take a 23-0 lead after the opening quarter.

By halftime, the Rams were down 30-0.

Just under five minutes into the third quarter, Mohawk Zack Campbell scored a 65-yard touchdown, followed by a 10-yard touchdown by Pierson Meirer to widen Medicine Hat’s lead to 44-0.

“When I watch film – tonight or tomorrow – what we’re going to see is our line constantly going backwards and their line, on either side of the ball, constantly going forwards and that, again comes with inexperience and lack of proper training,” Ross said.

Luckily, it’s still early in the season, and Ross says it’s good to discover weaknesses and face adversity early in the season.

“I purposely wanted to have stiff competition because we’re going to face that from the three Red Deer teams,” he said. “I would rather take my lumps right now and learn from it and see what these kids are made of, how do they bounce back from this, how are they going to be on Monday and see if we can right that ship.”

Moving forward, the Rams may have to adjust to the loss of two players, including receiver Simon Gray, who suffered a suspected pelvis injury in the second quarter. They’ll also have to work on their offence, which relied heavily on Richard Jans on Saturday.

“Richard, for Central Alberta, is going to be one of the top players this year. Schools are going to be looking at him scholarship-wise so we’re going to try and lean on him a little bit,” said Ross. “He’s certainly not our only cog in our offence, we just didn’t have an opportunity to show Zach (Schwab) or Simon (Gray) because of injury.

“We have to not try to fix everything all at once. This is one game.”

The Rams won’t have to wait too long to get another chance at earning a victory as they face Holy Rosary Friday, Sept. 7 at M.E.Global Athletic Park. Kickoff is at 4 p.m.

After that, they’ll head on the road for a couple weeks, facing Bonnyville Sept. 14 before playing their first in-league game against the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Raiders Sept. 21. The Rams will return to home field Sept. 28 to play the Notre Dame Cougars.

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