By Cole Parkinson
After a great start on the road, the W.R. Myers Rebels football team came home last Friday for a matchup against the Chinook Coyotes.
While Week 1 saw a complete team effort for a 54-6 victory, Friday night’s game was a much closer battle that saw the Rebels lose 24-12.
“That was definitely a tough loss for us. Chinook is a division rival, so of course, we never want to lose to them, but it just wasn’t our night,” explained Jason Jensen, head coach. “The game started with each team trading two and out drives. On the second Myers possession, fullback Kyler James broke off 46-yards on a catch and run to get down to the Chinook 10-yard line. The next play saw slotback Aiden O’Connor take a handoff into the endzone, putting the Rebels up 6-0 early. From there, both teams traded drives, with neither side being able to get much going, until late in the quarter, when halfback Cody Heide intercepted a Coyotes pass, and took it 51 yards to the house, to make the score 12-0.”
After getting up 12-0 in the first quarter, the second quarter saw the Coyotes find the endzone a couple of times, which led to their first lead of the game.
“Chinook took over to start the second quarter and were able to put together a long drive before the Rebels defence was able to dig in and stop them on the five-yard line. The Coyotes defence then did some digging in on their own, stymying a short Rebels drive, and once again going on the offensive,” continued Jensen. “They proceeded to put together an eight-play drive, capping it with a short run for a touchdown, narrowing the score to 12-7. Later in the quarter, an unfortunate penalty landed the Coyotes on the Rebels’ eight-yard line, and despite a good fight by the Myers defence, the Chinook rushing attack was just too much to hold off. The Coyotes headed into halftime with a 14-12 lead.”
Coming out of the break, the coaching staff was hopeful the team could rebound after giving up the lead in the second quarter.
Unfortunately, the Rebels started the third quarter off with a Chinook touchdown off the opening kick.
“The beginning of the third quarter turned disastrous for the Rebels. On the opening kickoff, the ball ended up in the middle of a group of players, and in the confusion, the Chinook returner managed to squirt out, find the sideline, and take it all the way to the endzone, bringing the score to 21-12 in favour of the Coyotes,” explained Jensen. “From there, both defences dug their heels in, and neither team was able to find a lot of success for most of the rest of the quarter. Near the end of the third, the Rebels finally broke through, putting together a six-play drive deep into Coyotes territory, but the Chinook defence was able to strip the ball and recover it on their own one-yard line, ending the quarter with possession.”
Heading into the final frame, the Coyotes once again found the endzone, while the Rebels offence wasn’t able to sustain much pressure.
“The 4th quarter began with The Coyotes going on an impressive 10-play drive before the Rebels defence was able to stop their progress and hold them to a field goal, widening the lead to 24-12. That would prove to be the final score, as neither offence was able to put together much of a sustained drive, and time ran out on any hope of a Rebels comeback,” confirmed Jensen.
Looking at the team’s production on both sides of the ball, the numbers weren’t as impressive as Week 1. Despite this, the team did several players put forth good efforts.
“Offensively, quarterback Kade Lund was 11 for 26 passing, for 144 yards. Kyler James has one reception for 46 yards, Brennan Abela had four carries for 31 yards, Aiden O’Connor had three catches for 33 yards, and Mason Werewka had two catches for 34 yards. On the ground, Lund was the leading rusher with 31 yards on six carries, while O’Connor had 13 yards and a touchdown on two carries, and Abela had eight yards on three carries. Defensively, Tyson Harker lead the team with six tackles, and one fumble recovery, while Allen Clements had five tackles and a forced fumble, Werewka contributed five tackles and an interception, and Logan Porter had four tackles. Cody Heide had an interception for a touchdown to go along with his two tackles, and Bryden O’Connor recovered a fumble to round out the turnover count,” said Jensen.
Looking back at the game, Jensen explained the Coyotes were able to capitalize on their chances while the Rebels weren’t.
Along with some errors, the Rebels just didn’t have their ‘A’ game in their home opener.
“At the end of the day, Chinook just executed better than we did, plain and simple. They capitalized on their opportunities, and we didn’t. We won the turnover battle, but had too many broken tackles, too many dropped and incomplete passes, and definitely committed too many penalties. In a tight game, against a tough team like Chinook, we just can’t do things like that and expect to win. I can’t discount our boys’ effort at all, they played hard from start to finish and didn’t quit when things got tough, but we’re going to have to tighten things up before we play again,” he said.
While the team carries a 1-1 record heading into Week 3, the coaching staff has seen plenty of positives that can be carried into the next game.
“On the upside, I think our boys learned some things, and hopefully we can correct the little stuff this week in practice,” added Jensen.
“On Friday, we head to Brooks to play the Buffalos, who are a Tier 3 school, and always very tough. When building this year’s schedule, I tried to punch up a little bit, with all but one of our opponents being in higher tiers than we are. The old adage is that steel is forged in fire, so hopefully consistently playing bigger programs than ours will leave us battle-hardened come playoff time, with the toughness needed for a deep Provincials run. It’s been a long time since we’ve beaten Brooks, so I’m excited to see how our boys stack up against them.”
Kickoff for Week 3 is at Brooks Junior High School Field and is set for 7 p.m. on Sept. 24.