By Greg Price
The Band of Brothers that is the W.R. Myers Rebels football team traveled to Drumheller Titans on Saturday, a wounded squad with mounting injuries, but nevertheless pulled out a convincing 36-7 victory to give the Rebels a chance for a home game in its Tier IV provincial quest.
The Rebels did indeed remember the Titans from its previous meeting and game tape which helped the squad prepare as players were forced to shift around, only dressing 21 players due to injury.
“They run a Double Wing-T offence, which relies on mass forward movement, misdirection, and confusion. We were missing four starters on defence, along with two others that had been tabbed to replace two of those injured starters, so it was a less than ideal circumstance for a provincial game. We ended up playing a bunch of guys out of their normal positions, and my hat is off to them, as they all proved they were up to the task,” said Jason Jensen, defensive co-ordinator for the W.R. Myers rebels.
The Rebels played the Titans in its first game of the year and earlier won comfortably as well, but head coach Adam Hughes was taking nothing for granted heading into the home contest.
“We had a lot of injuries so we didn’t know what to expect, but a lot of guys stepped up. Guys who didn’t get maybe as much playing time during the year, they had a really successful weekend,” said Hughes, adding with Division ‘B’ league MVP Evan Harkness out, Ryan Mankow (150 yards), Brett Andrus (100 yards) and Kadin Reynolds (50 yards) helped form a rock-solid committee churning out ground yards. Even defensive lineman Wyatt Thurston scored his first touchdown of his career lining up at fullback. “Guys who didn’t get to carry the ball much all year got their chance and it proved our depth for offensive weapons.”
Defensive adjustments had Thurston shifting from his defensive end position to linebacker and Ashton Werewka filled his spot on end.
“Knowing the style of run-heavy offence we were going to encounter, the extra size in the middle proved to be one of the keys to our win. I actually started doing the math, and our linebacker contingent for this game weighed in at over 800 pounds They marched on us a little bit on their opening drive, but the boys quickly settled down, dug in their heels, and managed to get a stop,” said Jensen. “After that, we made a couple of minor strategy adjustments, and it became an old school trench battle every time our defence was on the field. We collapsed the edges, and forced them to run into our bruisers in the middle. They tried to pass a little bit, but I don’t think they were able to complete a pass.”
Thane Buckingham led the Rebels in tackles with nine, with Thurston next in line with eight.
“Tylor Kornelson also had a day worth mentioning, as he was filling in for the injured Jaxon Shimbashi at a position he had never played before. He managed to record the game’s lone interception, and was virtually perfect in pass coverage. I can’t say enough good things about how well these boys played, with the depleted roster, and everything, we didn’t seem to miss a beat,” said Jensen.
The Rebels now host Bow Valley Bobcats at Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Park at 1 p.m. on Saturday for the right to be the South representative at Tier IV provincials. The Bobcats defeated Willow Creek Cobras 17-1 in its Tier IV provincial quarter-final.
“They are a team with a lot of speed, we have a couple of games of tape on them. They rely on their tailback like we do and they have some athletes. It will be a really good test,” said Hughes. “If we play our game, we have a good shot at winning and I’m sure they feel the same way. We are excited, it’s been a long time since we have played this deep into November and we want to take it another step forward.”