By Cole Parkinson
The W.R. Myers Rebels football team continues to play its best football when it matters most as they continue their march to a Provincial title.
Before they could even think of heading to Edmonton for the Tier IV Provincial title, the team had to get past the Drumheller Titans. On Saturday afternoon, the Rebels travelled north for the biggest game of the season, and it was on the road no less.
The Rebels were more than aware they were in for a battle as they stepped onto the field and it showed as they won a nail bitter 17-14.
“Drumheller is a team that always gives us maybe our toughest physical battle in a season, and this time, we also had to battle a nasty 50km cross-wind. In addition to a conventional offence, Drumheller also runs a double-wing, which is a compact formation, which relies on misdirection, and mass motion. They run very well, and it’s difficult to stop,” explained head coach Jason Jensen. “Sure enough, they came out of the gates running that double-wing, but our boys were ready for it, and forced them to go two and out. Our offence took over with a quick two-play drive capped by a 40-yard touchdown run by running back Evan Rabusic to put us up 7-0 early. Of course, the Titans weren’t going to lay down, and they answered back with a six-play drive, that saw them even the score. After that, both defences dug their heels in, and we seemed to trade drives between the 30-yard lines for the whole rest of the half.”
Heading into the locker room for the break, the Rebels were shorthanded. While that could have led to a negative effect on the squad, it did the opposite as the Rebels rallied together and put together a spectacular second-half performance.
“We had a few key injuries happen in the first half, and when that happens morale often becomes a concern. But at halftime, my boys made it very clear to me that they weren’t ready to fold, and they came out of the locker room fired up,” continued Jensen.
The Rebels offence started quickly again as they found the end zone to retake the lead.
“Kade Lund finished off a seven-play drive by finding Mason Werewka in the endzone on a 10-yard pass and were up 14-7. Once again, Drumheller was ready to answer back, and what ensued was one of the more bizarre drives I’ve ever seen. It was 17 plays long, and featured a fake punt, an apparent turnover negated by a penalty, and a very fortunate forward fumble which the Titans managed to recover. After a valiant goal-line stand, a Drumheller back was able to just get across the line to tie up the game,” added Jensen. “At that point, we went back and forth with drives, before we found ourselves within range to attempt a long field goal. A 37-yard attempt was pushed wide by mere inches, and the game remained tied.”
With the game on the line with only minutes remaining, the Rebels offence got to work in a drive that resulted in a field goal. After that, the Rebels’ defence was lights out, and didn’t allow the Titans a chance to tie the game or take the lead late in the game.
“But later in the fourth quarter, we managed to get down into Titans territory again, and this time kicker Brennan Abela wouldn’t be denied. We went up 17-14, and then our defence dug in and put up the fight of their lives to hold that lead. Drumheller had the ball as time expired and launched a hail mary pass, which was broken up by defensive backs Aiden O’Connor and Mason Werewka to seal the win, and send us off to the Alberta Bowl in Edmonton,” stated confirmed Jensen. “Offensively, Quarterback Kade Lund was eight for 18 passing, with 102 yards and a TD. Mason Werewka had four catches for 53 yards and a TD, Grayson Litchfield had a catch for 20 yards, and Colby Hansen had a catch for 12 yards. On the ground, Evan Rabusic lead the way with 84 yards and a TD on 10 carries, while Werewka rushed seven times for 18 yards, and Lund rushed six times for 18 yards. Defensively, Aiden O’Connor and Konner Unser each managed a quarterback sack, while Werewka had an interception, and Allen Clements and Tyson Harker each contributed fumble recoveries.”
While the season has seen plenty of ups and downs for the Rebels, they now head north for a chance at the Provincial championship. Over the last several weeks, the players have continued to dig in and win tough games. Now, they begin to focus on taking on the Tier IV number one ranked team — the Sexsmith Sabres.
“To say I’m a proud coach would be a huge understatement. The determination I saw on that field was incredible, and honestly, that could be said about both teams. In reality, neither team deserved to lose, but someone had to win. I’m sure glad it was us,” continued Jensen. “And now, we’re off to the Alberta Bowl, which is the Provincial Championship festival, where six games in all different tiers will be played over two days. We’ve come up one win short of this game three times since 2016, so it’s nice to get that monkey off of our backs. To add to that, it’s been exactly 20 years since this program has played in a Provincial Final, so that’s a pretty great accomplishment as well.”
The lights will be even brighter this coming weekend as the team will be playing at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
“This year, it’s being played at Commonwealth Stadium, which should be an awfully cool experience for these boys. Our opponent is the Sexsmith Sabres, who sport an impressive record, with only one loss this year, so we’re going to have our hands full. They’re a perennial powerhouse in Tier 4, so this should be a great game. Hopefully, we can get in a good week of practice, and finish this season out with a championship,” said Jensen.
The Rebels take on the Sexsmith Sabres on Nov. 27 at 11 a.m. The game will also be live-streamed on the ASAA YouTube Live channel which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/c/ASAALive.