Fresh off their first victory of the 2021 Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) season, the Bert Church Chargers football team claimed their second win in a row on Oct. 8, downing the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers 34-6 in Airdrie.
Playing in the inaugural Turkey Bowl game – a fundraising drive to support the Airdrie Food Bank – Bert Church capitalized on positive field position on multiple occasions to pull out an assured performance over one of their local rivals.
“We feel great,” said Ben Klassen, the Chargers’ Grade 10 quarterback, after the game. “There was a lot of talk before the game, but we just went out and did our stuff.”
Playing in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park, the Chargers kicked off the game with a touchdown from running back Damien Cherry, followed by a successful one-point convert, to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Bert Church maintained the strong start with two more touchdowns in the second interval, the TDs coming from defensive back Damon Cameron and receiver Tyler Cousins, to take a 20-0 lead into the halftime break.
“We were executing plays today,” Klassen said. “Penalties were a bit of an issue, but we were executing, which we haven’t been able to do lately.”
Bert Church extended their lead by another touchdown in the third quarter, when Cousins ran in his second TD of the contest.
Croxford broke their duck late in the third frame, when quarterback Jager Kleisinger connected with running back MJ Doyle-Marshall on the right side to give the Cavaliers six points.
But any chance of a comeback for the Cavaliers was snuffed out in the final quarter, with Cherry out-muscling and out-running multiple Croxford defenders en-route to the end zone for his second touchdown of the night.
The victory gives the Chargers a 2-2-1 record in the RVSA. The east Airdrie team will round out their regular-season schedule with a home game Oct. 16 against the Springbank Phoenix.
While the Chargers went winless in their opening three games of 2021, Klassen said the squad is starting to find their feet at the right time, with the RVSA playoffs around the corner.
“I think we’re coming together as a team,” Klassen said. “We started playing and became brothers.”
Croxford, meanwhile, is in fifth place in the RVSA conference – one spot below the Chargers – with a 1-4 record. The Cavaliers will cap off their regular season Oct. 15 when they take on the second-place Cochrane Cobras.
Cavaliers head coach Josiah Donahue said the loss to the Chargers was a tough game, but added his young squad will be able to learn from the experience moving forward. With only a handful of Cavaliers seniors on the football team this year, Donahue said the 2021 season is all about rebuilding for the future.
“A couple of things didn’t go our way early,” he said. “Bert [Church] is a great team. They kept fighting, and our guys battled back, but we’re a young team and still have some things to work on.
“We have about four Grade 12s who play right now, so we have a lot of young guys learning football, which we knew we’d have in the beginning. Those small things that an experienced team does, we’re not there yet, but we’re getting there.”
Mustangs remain unbeaten
Airdrie's other high school football team, the George McDougall Mustangs, maintained their unbeaten form in 2021 on Oct. 7, blanking the Bow Valley Bobcats 60-0.
The Mustangs, currently 6-0 and ranked third in the province among Tier III high school teams by Football Alberta, will wrap up the regular season with a trip to Chestermere on Oct. 15 to take on the Lakers.
For a full RVSA schedule, visit bit.ly/2YyJrDj