By Cole Parkinson
The Rebels may have had a bye during Week 6, but that didn’t seem to affect them at all when they took on the Winston Churchill Bulldogs last Friday night.
It was a Week 7 matchup that would determine the Southern Alberta High School Football League Division Championship and the winner of the Jerry Dawson Trophy.
“We knew the Bulldogs were a young team, but they’re well coached, and those North Lethbridge kids always bring a good fight. Couple that with us coming off a bye week, and facing the first real inclement weather we’ve had to play in, it made me just a touch nervous about how the game would start off,” explained Jason Jensen, head coach of the Rebels.
The Rebels saw a quick strike early in the game and it was evident the bye week was of little concern for the players.
“Well, those concerns were put to bed pretty quickly, as Elias Cooper took the opening kickoff to the house, to put us up 7-0. That really seemed to fire the boys up, and set the tone,” continued Jensen.
The defence was solid once again and they were ready to roll during the first Churchill possession. Thanks to that strong defence, it saw the Rebels with the ball once again.
“After a short Bulldogs possession, we put together a nine-play drive that saw senior wide receiver Logan Porter score on a 14-yard catch, to make it 14-0. The defence wasn’t going to be outdone, forcing Winston to go two and out, and two plays later, Cooper was at it again, breaking off an 83-yard run for a touchdown, making it 21-0. The Bulldogs ended up conceding a safety on the next drive, making it 23-0 to close the first quarter,” stated Jensen.
After a strong quarter, the coaching staff was excited to see what the Rebels could bring in the second. And Jensen reports it was a very similar effort and result.
“The second quarter was a lot of the same with the Bulldogs playing good, hard football, but our boys just managing to exploit every little mistake they made, or crack they found. Brennan Abela scored on a three-yard run, and Cooper continued his electric rookie season, scoring twice more on pass receptions. We ended up heading into the locker room with the score 44-0,” stated Jensen.
Heading into the break up big has been a similar theme for this Rebels’ squad over the past several weeks. And with a big lead, the coaching staff made the decision to get some of the backups and younger players into the game so they could get a feel for the big-game energy.
“At halftime, we made some wholesale personnel changes, getting the backups, and younger players into the game, so the second half was a lot more balanced. Both teams had some good drives, and with the clock not stopping once there is a 35-point gap in score, neither side was able to put any more points up,” added Jensen.
While no team saw any scoring in the final half, Jensen pointed to a great performance from Churchill despite a lopsided score.
“My hat goes off to the Winston Churchill team. Those boys played tough and mostly played very sound football. We had a game earlier in the season where every mistake seemed to lead to a touchdown by the other team, so I know what they were going through. My biggest concern in a game where the score gets out of hand that early is the dirty stuff sometimes starts to happen,” he said.
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