The Bert Church Chargers football team’s memorable season continued Oct. 4 with a 21-13 victory over the Springbank Phoenix.
Coming into the game, the team was unbeaten in the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) with a 4-0 record, while the Phoenix was similarly strong, with a 3-1 record.
Though the final score favoured the Airdrie squad, the game went down to the wire.
“We wanted a competition and they gave us one,” said Chargers head coach Steve Larsen. “They fought the whole 48 minutes, and it came down to the last play. It was a stressful game.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Chargers faked a field-goal attempt in the second, and senior wide receiver Blaise Newberry threw a pass into the end zone to Dylan Sorsdahl.
Sorsdahl, a senior captain who usually plays linebacker but featured mostly as a running back last year, said the trick play worked exactly as intended.
“We installed it last year and ran it once,” he said. “It got a touchdown, but it was called back. We thought we might as well try it again, and it worked.”
Bert Church doubled its lead to 14-0 a few minutes later, when Grade-11 quarterback Tristan Remus-Arevalo found Newberry in the end zone for the 17-year-old’s 10th touchdown catch of the season.
While the Chargers took the lead into the halftime, the Phoenix came out hard in the third, tying it up with a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Danny Skelton. The first was a short throw to senior running back Jack O’Brien, while the second was a catch from Maguire Hampson.
Midway through the third and it’s 14-7 for Bert Church. Jack O’Brien catches a pass from Danny Skelton. pic.twitter.com/R0oXpGiiqA— Scott Strasser (@scottstrasser19) October 4, 2019
With one quarter left, Bert Church held a tenuous 14-13 lead.
“They came out in the third quarter and had the answer,” Larsen said. “They shut us down on offence and we couldn’t get the ball out of our end.
“Credit to our defence – they tried really hard. Unfortunately, twice, Springbank was able to get it in.”
With the game on the line, the final quarter was a true battle, as both teams suffered turnovers and possession changed multiple times. Halfway through the frame, running back Matthew Jardine regained Bert Church's one-score lead with a run into the end zone down the left side.
In the final minute of play, Springbank went on a drive that brought its offence all the way to the Chargers’ 30-yard line, but a trio of incompletions from Skelton and a Bert Church interception on the final play sealed the win for the Chargers.
Another score from Bert Church makes it 20-13. Matthew Jardine with the carry for six. Kick was good so it’s now 21-13 with 6:03 to play in the fourth. pic.twitter.com/UgspAOrq0Y— Scott Strasser (@scottstrasser19) October 4, 2019
Big, big catch here! pic.twitter.com/zJNKxJDcck— Scott Strasser (@scottstrasser19) October 4, 2019
“[Springbank] hasn’t lost to anyone [in our division] except Cochrane for the past three years, so this is very big for us,” Sorsdahl said.
With one game left in the regular-season, schedule Oct. 11, the Chargers will have to prepare for an even tougher challenge, as it hosts the first-place Cochrane Cobras. Both teams are 5-0, and the winner will determine which team finishes as the top seed for the division’s “A” playoffs.
“That’s where our eyes are set, right now,” Larsen said. “We’re going to have to work hard, absolutely.
“I think this game helped us grow – we haven’t faced a lot of adversity yet, so seeing this and building off of it, hopefully we can come out and make some plays against Cochrane.”
Kickoff is at 4 p.m. at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park.
George Mac wins
After losing its first four games and conceding more than 200 points, the George McDougall Mustangs has turned its season around, winning its final two regular-season games to finish with a 2-4 record.
George McDougall earned its first win of 2019 with a decisive 42-8 victory Sept. 27 over the Bow Valley Bobcats. The team followed up with another strong performance at home Oct. 4, defeating the Chestermere Lakers 43-27.
Grade-10 quarterback Adam Mosher threw for four touchdowns, but saluted the players in front of him.
“My offensive line was giving me lots of time and my receivers were getting open – I was putting the ball where I needed to put it, but all the credit should go to the O-line,” he said.
Mosher said it’s been an honour to take up the responsibility of quarterback, after senior pivot Josh Spencer was moved to slotback and receiver earlier this year.
“I wasn’t really expecting it at the start of the season,” he said. “It was pretty stressful at the start, but I’ve started to settle down.”
He added the first four losses were frustrating, but the recent run of positive play has improved the attitude in the dressing room.
“Starting the season, our team was really young, but now we’re progressing and getting better every day,” he said.
Having already played all of its regular-season fixtures, the Mustangs will end its season in the RVSA “B” playoffs, with games slated for Oct. 18 to Nov. 2.