By Greg Price
A new season brings new expectations and the W.R. Myers Rebels football team certainly has reason to smile, as the team earned a victory in its first game of the 2016 fall high school gridiron season.
A little bit of everything was featured in the Rebels’ 23-12 victory over the Drumheller Titans on the road last Friday.
“I thought we came out very strong considering it was first game, when in the past we have been flat to start games,” said Adam Hughes, head coach of the W.R. Myers Rebels football team.
The Titans were huge on the stat sheet when it came to yards gained, but the Rebels’ D’ tightened up in a classic bend-don’t-break mode, as the Rebels gave up 12 points over more than 60 offensive plays.
“Drumheller runs the double wing-T offence, which can be tough to play against, as it relies on trickery, misdirection and mass force to grind out yards. I felt that we did the best we could to limit their big plays, and force them to rely on a ton of short-yardage runs,” said Jason Jensen, defensive co-ordinator for the W.R. Myers Rebels.
While the Titans were able to get its yards on the ground, through the air proved much more difficult as the Rebels’ pass rush made for a hurried quarterback with halfback Colton Weinberger and safety Bradley Marsden providing lockdown coverage.
“What really impressed me was that 16 different players managed to record tackles. That right there is the definition of a team effort, and goes right along with what we have been preaching this season,” said Jensen. “The tackling performance was perhaps the best I have ever seen in all my years of coaching.”
Senior middle linebacker Thane Buckingham and rookie cornerback Brett Andrus both had eight tackles apiece. Wyatt Thurston had two quarterback sacks, four tackles for a loss and had a 20-yard fumble recovery.
The Rebels’ offence was sparked by a 100-yard punt return by Marsden as W.R. Myers also received majors through the ground and air.
“We did a lot of the little things right. Our blocking was strong, including our receivers. They had a big team and we weren’t able to run inside, but getting to the outside, our speed trumped their size,” said Hughes, adding running back Evan Harkness was able to churn out 148 yards on the ground while punching it in for a major, and Marsden also scored another major through the air.
W.R. Myers squares off against Winston Churchill Bulldogs on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Lethbridge field.
“We showed a ton of toughness and resiliency, and that’s really going to be needed later in the season, given some of the tough teams we have on our schedule,” said Jensen. “If this game is any indication, it’s going to be a great season.”