For the first time in seven years, the George McDougall Mustangs football team came out on the winning side against the Cochrane Cobras.
Playing the five-time reigning Tier III provincial champions on Oct. 1, the Mustangs overcame a three-touchdown deficit in the first half to defeat the Cobras 30-28 at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park in Airdrie.
The Hollywood-inspired come-from-behind victory marked George McDougall’s first triumph over Cochrane since the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) championship game in October 2014. It also marked the Cobras’ first regular-season defeat against a divisional opponent since as far back as 2010, according to Mustangs head coach Chris Glass.
“I won’t lie, there were some tears,” Glass said. “People were pretty proud of themselves. We know the job isn’t done, but it’s just the validation of the work we’ve put in so far, seeing it pay off. A lot of times, you work hard but a game like that gets away from you and you don’t see the result of it. These guys got to see the result of their effort, so there were some pretty strong emotions.”
According to Glass, the Mustangs started off poorly against the five-time defending league champions, allowing the Cobras to jump out to a 21-0 lead in the first half. But George McDougall ended the second quarter on a positive note, with a touchdown and a safety that brought the hosts within 12 points.
That gave the Mustangs some belief, and the hosts came into the second half firing. Glass said quarterback Adam Mosher and receiver Mason Korf connected on two touchdowns as the Mustangs put three TDs on the board, while the defence kept the Cobras from adding to their first-half total.
“Mason Korf played unreal in the second half,” Glass said. “He had over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns. The one to get us within one score and the one to go ahead were both his.”
The result marked Cochrane's first competitive defeat in an RVSA game since 2014. The Cobras have not only won the Tier III provincial championships five years in a row, but also every RVSA championship since the Mustangs claimed the divisional crown in 2014.
When asked what makes Cochrane such a tough opponent, Glass said it is a combination of factors, including the team’s preparation and mentality.
“First thing first, they’re always well prepared. [Cochrane head coach Rob McNab] is a legend for a reason, and when they step on the field, they have a game plan and they execute it better than most teams have ever seen.
“They’re very disciplined, and that makes it tough because it doesn’t give you a lot of room for errors – if you make a mistake, they score.”
The win means George McDougall is still undefeated in 2021, with a 4-0 record in the RVSA.
The team’s strong performances mean the Mustangs are currently ranked third on Football Alberta’s weekly top 10 ranking for Tier II high school teams in Alberta.
Considering the Mustangs’ unbeaten record this season, Glass acknowledged his team’s recent success means there is a target on George McDougall’s back as teams prepare for the post-season, and a shot at the Alberta Bowl provincial championship in November.
“It’s hard to hide after what we did on Friday,” he said. “People are starting to see what we’re doing this year and taking notice, so I don’t think we’ll be surprising anyone here from on out.”
The Mustangs have two more games this season before the RVSA playoffs are set to begin later this month. They will take on the winless Bow Valley Bobcats on Oct. 7 before ending their regular-season campaign against the Chestermere Lakers on Oct. 15.
While there is still plenty of football to be played, Glass said the result against Cochrane is proof of how far the Mustangs have come this year.
“A lot of these kids were a part of that Airdrie Bowl game that we lost so dramatically two years ago,” he said. “The guys who carried us in this game were on that team. To see the complete transformation from then to now has been just an incredible journey to watch.”
As for Airdrie's other high school football programs, the Bert Church Chargers claimed their first win of the RVSA season on Oct. 1, downing the Bobcats 43-12. The win gives Bert Church a 1-2-1 record as they prepare to take on the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers on Oct. 8.
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, will head into that inter-city rivalry game with a 1-3 record, having picked up their first win of 2021 on Sept. 24, when they blanked the Bobcats 51-0.
For a full schedule, visit rvsa.rockyview.ab.ca