The W.H. Croxford Cavaliers football team reached a new milestone in 2019, qualifying for the Rocky View Sports Association’s (RVSA) “A” playoffs for the first time in the program’s five-year history.
The Cavaliers qualified for the “A” pool as the fourth seed in the RVSA’s regular season with a 2-4 record. While two other teams boasted the same number of wins – the George McDougall Mustangs and the Lakers – Croxford squeaked into the top four thanks to its better overall points-differential.
“Making the [“A” pool] was a big stepping-stone for us,” said offensive co-ordinator Steve Kemp. “We want to make sure we put the work in next week and have a really strong reset in the playoffs.”
While Kemp said the achievement is worth celebrating, the team’s regular season ended on a sour note Oct. 10, with a 27-9 loss to the Chestermere Lakers.
Despite leading 9-6 after three quarters, the Lakers came out on top in the fourth frame, scoring three unanswered touchdowns to earn the victory on a chilly night that saw the players battling it out in sub-zero temperatures on an icy field.
“Chestermere had chances to make plays in the fourth quarter, and they burned us,” Kemp said. “Hats off to them, but when we look back at the film, I know we’re going to see lots of missed opportunities from us, lots of mental mistakes, penalties, and [potential] points we took off the board.”
The Cavaliers’ only points came in the third quarter, when Grade-11 running back Keshawn Glasgow-Davies made a jaunt into the end zone. Later in the quarter, Croxford’s defence forced the Lakers to take a safety.
With the clock ticking down, and with a three-point lead, Croxford was one quarter of good football away from securing its first .500 regular-season record.
However, a defensive collapse on the first drive of the frame allowed the Lakers to pull ahead via a touchdown from Ryan Grabmuller. Bolstered by the lead, Chestermere’s offence finished strong – Nathan Porterfield and Connor Mughal also made it onto the score sheet with touchdowns in the final few minutes.
“It’s very disappointing,” Kemp said. “We believe we have good athletes and good talent. We just have to learn how to play the game, fight through some adversity and not let things snowball on us.”
The Cavaliers’ Grade-11 quarterback, Blake Kleisinger, echoed his coach’s comments.
“We didn’t play to our potential tonight – we could have played a lot better as both a team and as individuals, and we could have capitalized on our situations more,” he said.
“I think we learned a lot. Obviously, we need to not take as many penalties and not let go of our blocks.”
The Cavaliers will take on the first-place Cochrane Cobras Oct. 18 in the semi-finals.
Bert Church loses
The Bert Church Chargers’ dream of an undefeated season was spoiled Oct. 11, when the team lost 21-3 to the Cochrane Cobras at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park.
In a battle of the RVSA’s two unbeaten teams, the Cobras secured the victory by scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Battle of the unbeatens in the final regular-season game of the RVSA. The Cochrane @cobras_football just made it 6-0 over the @BCHSChargers halfway through the 2nd. The kick was blocked. Both teams are 5-0. pic.twitter.com/TVz1Z37d3o— Scott Strasser (@scottstrasser19) October 11, 2019
“I’m so proud of my defence and how they played,” said Chargers head coach Steve Larsen. “Holding Cochrane to six points at the half and making their starters play the whole game – I’m glad we did that.
“Losing sucks, but there are some positives to take away from this game, for sure.”
The first half was a true battle of inches, as Cochrane took a tenuous 6-0 lead into the locker rooms.
Bert Church cut the deficit in half in the third quarter, when kicker Owen Cory scored a 25-yard field goal to put the Chargers on the board.
Bert’s on the board with a 20-yard FG from Owen Cory. 6-3 with 1:38 left in the 3rd pic.twitter.com/AU7f998AQF— Scott Strasser (@scottstrasser19) October 11, 2019
But two touchdowns from Cochrane in the final 12 minutes sealed the victory for the visitors – as well as the division’s top seed for the “A” playoffs.
“[Cochrane is] well coached, and their coaches do a good job of making adjustments at half time, after seeing what we do,” Larsen said. “Their kids play hard, and they know how to play four quarters.”
Bert Church (5-1) will take on the third-place Springbank Phoenix (4-2) in the first semi-final Oct. 18. The Chargers beat the Phoenix 21-13 in the two teams’ regular-season encounter.