By Greg Price
W.R. Myers Rebels football team punched their ticket to provincials by defeating the Goliath of the Tier IV gridiron scene, Willow Creek Cobras, 10-0 at Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Park.
“Willow Creek has typically been the stumbling block for our program in getting to provincials and zones and what not. They have won the last eight playoff zone titles and they’ve won nine of the last 15 regular-season titles,” said Adam Hughes, head coach of the W.R. Myers Rebels football team. “They are a very strong program. Going into that game, we had a high provincial ranking and we’ve had some success, but it was Willow Creek we really wanted to measure ourselves against.”
A defensive battle from both teams, the only major came on the Rebels opening possession as both squads bent, but didn’t break, as the teams snuffed out any eventual drive that saw themselves in enemy territory.
“To say I’m proud of these boys is a colossal understatement. To shut out a team the calibre of Willow Creek which are ranked fourth provincially, is a fantastic accomplishment,” said Jason Jensen, defensive co-ordinator for the W.R. Myers Rebels football team.
The Cobras were able to march the ball down on its opening drive, but the Rebels dug their heels in and settled down to eventually deliver the goose egg on the scoreboard for the Cobras.
“We were able to almost completely shut down their run game, forcing them to pass a lot in the second half. While they were able to connect on a few passes, our pass rushers were able to get in the backfield consistently, disrupting the quarterback,” said Jensen.
That played into the hands of the secondary with Brett Andrus essentially sealing the win with a late interception.
There were 14 different Rebels who recorded tackles in the win, with Ashton Bekkering leading the way with seven tackles. Jaxon Shimbashi and Kadin Reynolds each had six tackles. Wyatt Thurston recorded two sacks to go with three tackles.
“It was a field-position game for most of the game. We scored on the first series of the game and then another touchdown wasn’t scored,” said Hughes. “We moved the ball and they had some success too. They got deep into our side of the field a few times and we were able to stop it and same thing with them. It was a good experience for our boys to play in a tight game like that. One play could have turned the game on its head. To gut it out, play after play, a win like that is good.”
The win assures the Rebels a spot at provincials, but there is still work to be had for W.R. Myers to achieve other gridiron accolades.
This Thursday, the Rebels play Chinook at the University of Lethbridge at 8:15 p.m. A win gives the Rebels the Jerry Dawson trophy which is the Southern Alberta High School Football League Division ‘B’ Championship.
“It’s been around for 15 years, and we have never won it before, so that’s a pretty big one,” said Jensen.
The Rebels success has also earned them a bye into the zone title game, as the Rebels will host the winner of Willow Creek/Pincher Creek on Nov. 4.
If the Rebels get past the zone championship, they will need to win two games at provincials to make it to the Alberta Bowl (provincial finals) on Nov. 25-26 in Calgary.
“We are guaranteed to be playing football until mid-November, and it’s the first time since 2008 that we’ve been to provincials. This has been a historic season all ready,” said Jensen.