Lacombe Rams quarterback Johnny Ericson scrambles for a big gain on Thursday at MEGlobal Athletic Park in the high school football season opening game. (Photo by Byron Hackett/Advocate Staff)

Lacombe Rams win big in high school football opener over Notre Dame

Rams 42 Cougars 17

The Lacombe Rams battered the Notre Dame Cougars in the second half of the season opening city high school football game Thursday at ME Global Athletic Park.

Lacombe cashed in 20 unanswered points against the defending city champions in the third quarter and 39 total in the second half to climb over the Cougars 42-17 and kick off the season with a victory.

Johnny Ericson, the Grade 12 pivot for the Rams, had a monster day, throwing for three touchdowns and 118 yards. The veteran quarterback said it was simply the team coming together as a cohesive unit.

“We stuck to the basics. We went quick game and took what we got and marched down the field. Came together as a team,” he said. “We were confident. I knew what we had and I was confident in my teammates and our ability to play. I knew we would come together once the lights started shining.”

Lacombe’s defence was strong in the second half, time after time stalling the Cougars offence or tackling them for a loss.

“Our linebacking core was exceptional, nobody is going to run on us,” Lacombe head coach Jason Petrie said. “

For Notre Dame head coach Gino Castellan, inexperience is a significant hurdle his team will have to overcome this season.

“We’re young and we’re inexperienced. I told them we can go 0-6 but peak at the right time and be there. As long as we get better every week that’s all I’m asking.”

It started out ugly for both sides in the first half, each team tried work out the early season jitters. The game was tied 0-0 after one quarter before the Cougars scored on a 50-yard run by Josh Burke to burst out in front.

They added a field goal to take a 10-0 lead and looked in control before the half until a fumble gave the Rams a possession with six seconds on the clock. With no time left in the half the Rams hit a field goal to finally get on the board.

“We were executing fairly well. We had some critical penalties in critical times that brought plays back,” Petrie said. “We made a few adjustments at half time and our kids and staff picked apart what we needed to fix. We came out and drove the ball and took control of the game.”

Momentum swung in the Rams favour when they returned a fumble for touchdown with 3:55 left in the third quarter. Ericson connected with Richard Jans for a short touchdown pass to extend the lead.

The Cougars clawed back early in the fourth quarter with good field position and a few penalties going their way. Issac Colosimo caught a one-yard touchdown pass.

It was a quick answer for the Rams with Ericson finding Simon Gray on a 54-yard score.

Logan Ellis also ran in two touchdowns for Lacombe late in the fourth quarter.

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