The Lacombe Rams kicked off high school football in central Alberta with an exhibition game against the Medicine Hat Mohawks.
The Rams were in deep against a talented Mohawk squad from the opening kickoff, eventually going on to lose their opener 44-0.
“It is not unexpected,” Rams Coach Brian Ross said. “I knew that Medicine Hat was going to be strong and I think we showed where we have some glaring weaknesses, which is certainly with our line play. We have inexperienced guys that have to learn to grow into that possession.”
The game got off to a shaky start after Mohawk Josh Howe returned the Rams’ opening possession punt for a touchdown, putting his squad up 7-0.
The Mohawks would quickly follow that up with a safety, followed by another another TD by Lachlan Hardiker. They would add another touchdown before the end of the first quarter leading to a commanding 23-0 lead.
A scary injury to wide receiver Simon Gray would delay the second quarter, with Gray needing to be taken to hospital to be further examined.
“It seems to be hip or pelvis,” Ross said. “I am going to whip over to the hospital to look over my troops. Hopefully it is nothing as serious as the ambulance made it seem to be.”
The Rams would continue to bleed points, as Howe would catch a 10-yard pass to score his second touchdown of the game, leading to the halftime score of 30-0.
“When I watch what I am going to see is our line constantly going backwards and their line on either side of the ball going forward,” Ross said. “That comes with inexperience and lack of training.”
The second half would start off similar to the first, with the Mohawks continuing to pile on points — with Zack Campbell running half the field for another score, putting Medicine Hat up 37-0, after the extra point was good.
Mohawk Pierson Meirer would continue the onslaught for Medicine Hat with a 10-yard run, putting his team up 44-0.
Due to the league’s mercy rule, the fourth quarter was played in run-time meaning that 44-0 would be the final score of the game.
Despite the loss, the Rams made it clear that much of their offence will run through stand-out receiver Richard Jans.
“Richard, in central Alberta, is going to be one of the top players this year,” Ross said. “I think schools will be looking at him scholarship-wise, so we are going to try to lean on him a little bit but he isn’t the only cog in our offence.”
Ross is pleased his team was able to face stiff competition early.
“We are going to face that from the three Red Deer teams, so I would rather take my lumps now and learn from it to see what these kids are made of,” Ross said.
The Rams will look to find some offence when they host Holy Rosary out of Lloydminster next Friday at 4 p.m. at MEGlobal Athletic Park.
“We have to try to not fix everything all at once,” Ross said. “This is one game. Offensively, it usually takes a little longer to gel and figure stuff out. It will be a week by week thing.”