The Camrose Composite High School Trojans football team accomplished two feats in one game on Oct. 4.
CCHS unleashed its offence in a 42-34 victory over the Ponoka Broncs to give them a win and a playoff berth at the same time.
The Trojans came out pumped and built up a 13-0 lead in the first quarter before the Broncs started riding hard to make a comeback. On a frosty night, Camrose’s offence provided the spark to lift the team’s confidence.
“Our offence finally clicked and started rolling. They had a good first half. The offence is more talented than what they showed in the last four games, it was time for them to show us and themselves what they can do” said coach Adam Belanger. “Our defence relaxed a little in the second quarter, but the guys came through like champions.”
The Trojans scored on the first drive of the contest.
“Everyone was dialed up and ready to go. They all knew the implications of this game and they really wanted it,” said Adam. “The winner advances to the playoffs and loser doesn’t. That (Ponoka) is one heck of a football team and you have to hand it to them. This is their first year in 12-man football league. They have talent and they wanted it as much as we did.”
Broncs coach Scott MacGregor said it was a tough start. “We were down right off the bat on the first three drives.”
The Broncs rallied during the second quarter, closing the gap 21-20 before halftime.
“It was exciting. It was an up and down rollercoaster,” he explained. Quick action from a Broncs player changed the tide for some time. It was 27-27 and Cole Pritchard intercepted a pass for a touchdown and then “we were up 34-27 and there wasn’t much time left.”
With little time left in the fourth quarter, the Trojans gambled on a third down, which helped them complete another touchdown. “They had to make two very risky plays and they made both…the wind was kind of stolen from us but it was fun.” MacGregor said.
With the close game against the Trojans, MacGregor feels his players have had a taste of a near win and they are planning for some serious practice before their away game against Wetaskiwin Oct. 12.
Coach Belanger admitted he didn’t know what to expect from the Broncs. “They played a good game and showed a good offence. I didn’t expect 42-34, but at the end of the day that is the way it ended.”
The veteran players on the Trojans stepped up and showed leadership when the team needed it the most. “Dilshant Garcha played like a warrior, Skyler Rambeau played hard and Tim Carberry stepped up for us when Corson Clarkson couldn’t play because of an injury,” explained Belanger. “Our passing game came through for us and our receivers made some good catches.”
“We started the season not executing. We were not clicking on all cylinders, so it was good to see everyone come together and play well,” said coach Belanger. “This will give everyone more confidence as we head into the playoffs. It shows we can play with any team in this league. I knew it as a coach, but now the players know it. That’s huge, you can’t put a price on that and I can’t ask for anything more.”
CCHS finishes the regular season in Stettler with an Oct. 11 game against the Wildcats. “It’s a hard road for us. Stettler are the defending Tier 3 provincial champions,” said Belanger. “We will play a tough team in the first round of the playoffs. We will see how things shake out and take it from there.”