For the first time in nearly a decade, the Airdrie Bowl trophy has made its way to the east side of the city.
In one of the most notable results in Airdrie high-school football history, the Bert Church Chargers overwhelmed the George McDougall Mustangs 74-6 Sept. 6, in the 16th annual game.
“I thought it was a dream at first,” said Brendan Lawrence, a Grade-12 defensive end for the Chargers. “I thought, ‘No way can we be up 74-6.’ But I woke up from that dream and we were holding the trophy. It felt pretty great.”
The Chargers’ resounding victory – in front of a packed crowd of more than 400 fans at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park – ended the Mustangs’ eight-year reign in the yearly match-up between the city’s oldest high-school football programs.
“We came into today wanting to make a statement about what we can do and who we are in this league,” said Chargers head coach Steve Lawrence. “I think we managed to accomplish that. We showed not just George Mac, but the rest of Rocky View, what we’re capable of.”
Bert Church was explosive from the first whistle, when senior wide receiver Blaise Newberry went on a lung-bursting 78-yard run to score a touchdown on the opening kick return.
Lucas Alway and Dylan Sorsdahl added to the Chargers’ touchdown total, while kicker Owen Cory scored a field goal to give Bert Church a 25-0 lead in the first quarter.
Excellent attendance tonight. My guess is 400-500? This game always gets a big crowd. pic.twitter.com/JysBVRlZE8— Scott Strasser (@scottstrasser19) September 6, 2019
The dominance continued into the second frame, as Newberry and Sorsdahl scored their second touchdowns of the game. The two captains each played a significant role in the Chargers’ success, according to Larsen.
“We’re so fortunate that a lot of our Grade 12s and 11s had played in their Grade 10 year, so they’ve come out and have all this experience on the field, making plays,” he said.
“[Sorsdahl] has been scoring touchdowns against George Mac since he was in Grade 10. He’s used to it. It was good to finally get a win for those boys who have been playing this team since Grade 10.”
Noah Heming, Jared Drake and Tyler Ruck scored TDs to give Bert Church an even bigger cushion in the second quarter, before Grade-11 quarterback Tristan Remus-Arevalo capped off the one-sided half with a rushing touchdown down the right side that brought the score to 59-0.
“We played our game and didn’t mess anything up,” Lawrence said. “We played hard and kept going all the way – we didn’t stop for anything.”
The second half continued where the first left off, as Bert Church coasted to its first Airdrie Bowl crown since 2010 with a third touchdown from Newberry and a major from Matthew Jardine that broke the 70-point barrier.
George McDougall’s consolation touchdown came late in the third quarter, when quarterback Josh Spencer – playing at slotback – scored on a 75-yard catch-and-run.
2:46 left and it’s now 74-6. pic.twitter.com/5j8ZrisB3h— Scott Strasser (@scottstrasser19) September 6, 2019
While Bert Church’s football team has struggled to find success in recent years, Grade-11 centre Josh Christman said the Chargers’ Airdrie Bowl victory signals a changing of the guard.
“This year is going to be a good year for Bert Church,” he said. “We’re no longer the team we were [before], and other teams have to be ready.”
For George McDougall, the loss marked the team’s second heavy defeat of the season, after it lost 44-6 in the season opener Aug. 30 against the Springbank Phoenix.
Having conceded 118 points in the opening two games while scoring just 12, Mustangs head coach Chris Glass said his team has plenty of work to do in the remaining weeks of the season.
“We’re super young when it comes to our secondary, and it showed,” he said. “They didn’t have a particularly strong game today. But we’re young and we’re getting better.
“The good news is that most of these players are back for the next two years.”
Bert Church will look to keep its positive momentum going against the Chestermere Lakers Sept. 13, in Chestermere, while George McDougall will be on the road Sept. 14 to face the perennially-dominant Cochrane Cobras.