By Greg Price
Nine-man football continues to be good to the Taber bantam Rebels football team, as it pushed its record to 6-0 with a 39-12 win over the Coaldale Spartans to finish off the regular season.
“We knew gong into the game that this will be the same opponent we face next Saturday in the first round of the playoffs, so we wanted to execute and try some new looks against them and see what worked for us,” said Jamie O’Connor, head coach of the Taber bantam Rebels football team.
The Rebels went to the air for most of the game, as quarterback Brennan Abela went 10-for-15 for 222 yards and three touchdowns, while also throwing a pick. Abela also punched in a touchdown with his legs that resulted in 32 yards rushing. The Swiss-army knife of the gridiron was 4-for-4 on extra points while also booting a 21-yard field goal.
Back-up quarterback Cody Heide connected on his lone pass attempt with a 51-yard strike to Brigham Porter. Heide would call his own number on a three-yard score.
Slotback Elias Cooper had 132 yards receiving and a touchdown. Logan Porter hauled in a 65-yard touchdown strike and Evan Rabusic finished the game off with a 25-yard catch and score.
“Overall, I was very impressed with how our offence looked and we now have a lot of different schemes we can present to the defence. I’m confident heading into the playoffs we will be a hard team to defend against,” said O’Connor.
The Spartans took the Rebels defence by surprise by scoring on its first play from scrimmage, but quickly adjusted where the Spartans sputtered to sustain drives after that.
Linebacker Allen Clements and defensive lineman Tyson Harker each had eight tackles each, with Harker also recovering a fumble. Defensive end Brigham Porter and linebacker Elias Cooper each had seven tackles, with Cooper also picking off a pass. Matthew Gensorek recorded a safety for the Rebels thanks to one of his four tackles as he continually got penetration on the Spartans’ line.
“Matt has been a tremendous addition to our lineman group and he has been steadily improving as the season has went along. He’s that quiet player on the field that takes full advantage of his size and strength to make life miserable for the opposition,” said O’Connor.
The second season kicks off for the Taber bantam Rebels football team this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Park against the same Spartans in he first round of the playoffs.
“I know one thing is for sure, Coaldale will be fired up and ready to play. They have been improving every week, but I know our boys will be ready to go in front of the home crowd,” said O’Connor.
The winner of the semifinal will move onto the league final Nov. 2 in Raymond.
“We have put in a lot of work this year and our weekly motto has been to go 1-0 each week, never look past an opponent and up until now, we have achieved that goal. I am confident we will continue that trend this weekend.”