Cougars crowned

Once the Notre Dame Cougars offence found its footing the Central Alberta High School Football League championship final was all but over.

Notre Dame Cougar Dale MacDonald looks for a way past Lacombe Ram Brayden Sage during the CAHSFL final at Great Chief Park on Saturday. Notre Dame won 29-14.

Cougars 29 Rams 14

Once the Notre Dame Cougars offence found its footing the Central Alberta High School Football League championship final was all but over.

The Cougars scored 29 unanswered points to overcome a 7-0 deficit and rolled to a 29-14 victory over the Lacombe Rams at Great Chief Park Saturday afternoon.

But it wasn’t the Cougars offence that drew most of the raves following the game . . . it was their defence.

The Notre Dame defence held the Rams at bay in the first half until their offence got going in the final two minutes of the second quarter.

Twice the Cougars intercepted Rams quarterback Cole Stewart to snuff out drives. Then with the score 7-0 for the Rams, the Cougars created a pair of fumbles that turned into 14 points and a 14-7 halftime lead.

“Our defence helped us come out with this win,” said Cougars veteran defensive back Tyler LaGrange who had one of the two interceptions.

“We had a couple of breakdowns, but we did a good job of bring it back together as a team. The turnovers were the key. The offence has to have the ball to do anything and we were able to get it back into their hands.”

Cougars quarterback Kyle Devine struggled early, but following the first fumble recovery on the Lacombe 47 yard line he began to find his stride.

“It was the wind and a little case of the nerves,” said Devine. “But then if you’re not a bit nervous in a championship game you’re not human.”

Devine connected with Parker Aubin on a 24-yard pass on the second play following the fumble, then found Glen Ritchie alone on the goal line for a 23-yard scoring strike. Aaron Moritz’s first of four converts tied the game.

The Cougars were unsuccessful on a short kick attempt, but two plays later the Rams once again coughed up the ball on the Notre Dame 47. Two plays later Dale MacDonald broke off tackle and went 58 yards to put the Cougars up for good.

“Turnovers were the key in the first half,” said Cougars head coach Gino Castellan. “They always demoralize a team, especially when they’re driving.”

The Cougars passing game and a switch in blocking assignments, turned the game completely in Notre Dame’s favour in the third quarter.

They dominated play getting touchdowns on runs of nine and 10 yards by MacDonald and a single on a wide field goal by Moritz.

Their defence limited the Rams to just five offensive plays, and one of those was a third-down fake punt that came up well short.

“We had a real hard time dealing with MacDonald in the third quarter,” said Rams head coach Brian Ross. “He showed why he was the league’s top rusher.”

The Cougars also did a good job blocking Lacombe’s outstanding linebacker Brandt Kolybaba.

“He’s a hell-of-a athlete and was in on a lot of tackles in the first half, so we made an adjustment on the O-line and we got a body on him in the second half,” said Castellan.

Brady Olsen scored the Rams first touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter while Dalen Kolybaba scored on a 104-yard fumble recovery at 9:28 of the fourth quarter. Cale Jacobs had a pair of converts.

The win gave the Cougars a 10-0 record and a berth in the provincial Tier II championships. They host Edmonton McNally Saturday at Great Chief Park.

Castellan didn’t expect to go 10-0 in league play.

“It was unexpected, but I’m proud of the kids. They played well now we just have to see if we can keep riding this roller-coaster.”

Ross was disappointed, yet proud of his troops.

“They’re a good group. Unfortunately they showed their age today. They’re largely a group of Grade 10s and 11s, so next year, with another year under their belts, they’ll be ready to roll.”

l Olsen, who replaced starter Skylar Sargeant, who played less than a quarter because of the flu, had 134 yards rushing on 14 carries . . . MacDonald had 181 yards on 25 carries.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read