Raiders 39 Rebels 7
As a Grade 10 rookie Greg Fowler wasn’t sure how much playing time he’d get with the Lindsay Thurber Raiders this season.
But when veteran running back Charlie Jacobson went down with a shoulder injury in the team’s opening game, it was left up to Fowler.
He has steadily improved each time out and Thursday turned in his season’s best performance, rushing 18 times for 191 yards and four touchdowns as the Raiders beat the West Central Rebels of Rocky Mountain House 39-7 at Great Chief Park.
“Unfortunately Charlie got hurt which opened it up for me, but even if he was healthy I was hoping to get some playing time,” said Fowler, who played bantam football last year.
“That helped me make this step, although there’s a big difference,” said the five-foot-eight, 140-pound tailback. “It took me the first few games to wake up. But it’s coming lately. I’m not over thinking, just going for it.”
Raiders head coach Dave Smith can see his rookie back improving each time out.
“He’s a talent and is getting better and better every game. Today was a special game for him and our offensive line. We realized we could take advantage of their defence to the outside and our line did a great job of opening some holes.”
The win was the first in five starts this season for the Raiders, who sit with a 1-3-1 mark.
“This will go a long way in building confidence,” said Smith.
The Raiders took a 16-0 lead in the opening half before the Rebels put together their best drive of the game, marching 64 yards on 10 plays, capped by Travis Howes’ three-yard touchdown run. Jesse Cooling kicked the convert.
“That gave us some momentum, but they scored so quickly in the second half it killed any momentum we had,” said Rebels head coach Vance Curtis, who wasn’t all that upset with his team’s effort.
“We’re missing seven starters, which makes a big difference,” he said.
Included in the missing bodies are two of the team’s top running backs — Jordan Hare and Connor Heap.
“We’re also missing our starting safety (Liam Willis) and outside linebacker (Dawson Howes),” added Curtis. “You could see that as they consistently ran to our right side.”
Fowler scored on runs of three, 25, 21 and one yards while Kyle Pickett scored on a 45-yard pass and run play with quarterback Kyle O’Meara. Brody Slagman kicked five converts and the Rebels gave up a pair of safeties.
The Raiders finished with 176 yards rushing and 129 passing while the Rebels had 170 and nine yards respectively.
Cooling led the Rebels with 111 yards rushing on 19 carries.
• In other league action the Hunting Hills Lightning ran their record to 5-0 with a 28-21 win over the homestanding Sylvan Lake Lakers while the Notre Dame Cougars, 4-0, beat the Stettler Wildcats 45-28 and the Lacombe Rams, 4-0, downed the Camrose Trojans 29-21.
Stas McPhail led the Lightning with 27 carries for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
Josh Earl and Dylan Beaudry added the other touchdowns and Jose Liso kicked four converts.
Tanner Seely, Ian Graham and Howie Gray scored for the Lakers with Sean Wood adding three converts.
Kyle Winder had 88 yards rushing on five carries for the Lakers while Graham grabbed three passes for 55 yards.
The Lakers led 14-7 at the half, but the Lightning scored the next 21 points before Gray scored on a one-yard run with 3:32 remaining in the game.
Information on the other games was unavailable.