A 46-12 win against the Calgary Rebels Oct. 12 ensured the Airdrie Storm peewee football team ended its regular season on a six-game unbeaten run.
Head coach Tyrell Rohl said it took a few games for the squad to start clicking, but once it did, the wins kept coming. Since the team’s 52-34 loss to the first-place Calgary Wildcats Aug. 31, Airdrie has dominated, with a combined score of 240-18.
“We got our stuff together – fundamentals, practice and getting guys healthy and getting back to what we do,” Rohl said. “I’m excited about playoffs coming up, and we’re rolling into it on the right note.
“We needed a good game like we had today – the Rebels were fantastic – to get us going.”
Airdrie didn’t have its best start to the game, leading the Rebels just 16-12 after two quarters. Calgary ended the first half with a blistering 100-yard touchdown that cut the deficit to just four points.
“I had to have a chat with the boys and [let them know] we needed to get going,” Rohl said. “They responded well and put up four or five touchdowns in the second half.”
While the Storm offence was firing on all cylinders for the remainder of the match, the defence was just as resilient, keeping the Rebels far away from Airdrie’s end zone.
“If we came out harder in the first half, we would have had a much higher score,” said Maclin Brown, an offensive left tackle.
Rohl credited the team’s winter and spring conditioning with the improved second-half performance.
“That off-season training is what came out today – the ability to fly off, get guys on their backs and go on their heels the other way,” he said. “All that time spent pushing prowlers and running up and down stairs is what showed up in the second half today.
“When we put our foot down and go after it, there’s not a team in the league that can play with us.”
With the win, Airdrie will enter the CPFA playoffs as the fourth seed, boasting a 6-2 record. The team kicks off its post-season run with an Oct. 19 battle against the Foothills Eagles (also 6-2), at 11 a.m. at Shouldice Athletic Park in Calgary.
“We need to blast our gaps, stay in our lanes and just do what we do,” said Gabriel Ofenda, a 12-year-old defensive end.
If the Storm shoots down the Eagles, it will compete in the Tier 1 playoffs, where Airdrie’s will go for gold after losing to the Wildcats in last year’s championship game.
“Last year, we were close to winning the Tier 1 championship, and made some little mistakes in the championship game,” he said. “This year, our team is better, stronger and faster.”
While the Storm maintained its win streak, in the bantam league, the Airdrie Raiders’ four-game streak came to an end Oct. 12 with a 51-14 loss to the unbeaten Calgary Wildcats.
The defeat – Airdrie’s first since Sept. 7 – drops the Raiders to third place in the Brock Jacobs Division of the Calgary Bantam Football Association, with a 5-3 record.
The team will take on the Calgary Stampeders in its first playoff game, Oct. 19. Calgary ended the season just ahead of Airdrie with a 6-2 record, and beat the Raiders Aug. 24, in the first game of 2019.
“We played the Stampeders early on and we lost 32-8, but it was one of those games where there was a lack of experience on offence and us not being able to really game-prep for them,” said head coach Douglas Robertshaw. “We think we’ll be really competitive with them, [when] we play them again.”
The game will kick off at 3 p.m. at Shouldice.