By Greg Price
A test of physical fortitude, the W.R. Myers Rebels were able to gut out a 20-0 victory over Drumheller Titans on the road on Saturday night.
A game that had to be rescheduled from Friday to Saturday due to referee availability, the two squads battled to a 0-0 draw at halftime.
“We’ve never had an easy game against Drumheller, so we went in expecting a dogfight, and man did they give it to us. Physically, that was the toughest game we’ve played this season,” said Jason Jensen, head coach of the W.R. Myers Rebels football team. “The Titans are a team that hits hard with every block, and tackles relentlessly. They mixed their offence up a bit this time, running a lot of series out of a more orthodox four-receiver set, but they also broke out the offence they are better known for, the double-wing. That offence relies on mass motion, and confusion, and when used by a physical team, it can be an absolute meat grinder.”
The first half told the tale of both offences being able to drive the ball down field, only to stall late to produce goose eggs on the scoreboard.
“We had a bit of a scare towards the end of the half, when Drumheller switched to the double wing,” said Jensen. “They drove down the field on us, but thankfully our defence managed to adjust and stop them in our own end by forcing a turnover. That’s kind of the weakness of that offence. There is so much traffic and misdirection, if you can hold the team to enough short plays, they’re bound to turn the ball over to you.”
Halftime adjustments were made by both squads, where the Rebels were able to put digits on the scoreboard.
“It was like two different games. Our defence absolutely shut the Titans down, and our offence went to work,” said Jensen.
Quarterback Mike Sawatzky connected with receiver Brett Andrus on a 73- yard pass to flip the field, and after two quick quarterback keepers by Sawatzky, the Rebels were up 7-0. With the Titans unable to move the ball out of their own end, it wasn’t long until runningback Denzel Gross was able to find the endzone, increasing the Rebels’ lead to 14-0. Early in the fourth quarter, Sawatzky took to the air again, this time hitting receiver Johnny Tams on a 28-yard touchdown to account for the rest of the Rebels scoring.
“On the defensive side, I couldn’t have asked for a better performance. Our linemen and linebackers were into the Titans backfield, wreaking havoc on seemingly every play, while our secondary locked down anything Drumheller tried to get going through the air,” said Jensen. “Through the whole second half, we held them to a single first down, and as their own coach pointed out to me after the game, they actually lost yards on that play, as they took a 15-yard penalty at the end of it. If that’s not the sign of a dominating performance, I don’t know what is.”
Luke Jensen lead the team with four sacks, followed by defensive lineman Corny Howatt with two, and linebacker Kadin Reynolds with one. Defensive back Quinn Bailey lead the team in tackles, with six, followed by defensive back Johnny Tams, and linebackers Ashton Werewka, and Shawn Harris with five apiece. As for turnovers, defensive lineman Johnny Klassen forced a fumble, which Sawatzky recovered, while Johnny Tams and Kadin Reynolds each had interceptions.
“I think a tough game like that is exactly what we needed to steel ourselves for the playoffs. Once again, they showed me that they could take on some adversity, hit the reset switch, and just completely take over the game,” said Jensen. “The zone title game is in a little under two weeks, and I can’t wait to see what these boys have in store for whomever we play, in front of our hometown fans.”
The Rebels next game is the South Zone Tier IV title game on Friday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. at Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Park. They play the winner of this coming Friday’s game between Willow Creek and Pincher Creek.