BY ZACHARY CORMIER
Things are looking good for the Lacombe Composite High School Rams football team after winning their first pre-season game 57-21 over Medicine Hat at M.E. Global Athletic Park last weekend.
“I don’t know how big of a win it was. It was a good opportunity for us to get to see some of our guys that are younger players or more inexperienced players. We were sitting out six starters on Saturday, so that was a good opportunity for some of our young guys to step in and play,” said Rams’ Head Coach Jason Petrie.
Petrie said this year’s team has shown a lot of promise after having been through spring camp and a number of jamborees.
“We had a fairly good idea of where our strengths were and where our weaknesses are,” he said, adding the team was able to sure up some of those weaknesses during the course of Saturday afternoon’s game. “The kids made adjustments in the second half of the game and stepped up and the kids that made those adjustments stepped up and played well and showed well.”
One of the standouts in that Saturday brush up match, for Petrie, was the team’s offense.
“Our offense was clicking and we were missing a couple of key parts,” he said, adding he wanted to give hats off to the team’s group of offensive coaches. “They got our offense firing and ready to play.”
Still, the coach said there’s always room for improvement in any area of the game. “Realistically we scored on some big plays but I think we probably could have scored more offensively had we wanted to or had we just not mixed up our play call. But we really wanted to give their defense a number of different looks and for our kids we wanted to put them in situations where they were trying to play a number of different looks.”
On the flip side of the ball, Petrie said the defense were solid as well, especially against the run.
“I thought our interior played really well. There wasn’t a lot of running up the middle on us. We got physical in the second quarter and that was a big deal for us on defense,” he said, adding he really can’t complain about much defensively. “We had 14 points scored against the defense. In a football game if your defense gives up 14 points, they’re giving you a chance to win.”
For Petrie, who is in his first year as the team’s head coach, the focus in the early part of this season will be on developing some of the talent the team has shown in the early stages, as well as doing some of the little things right on the individual level.
“I told the boys right now at this point of the season, of course we want to win football games, but as we move forward throughout the season winning football games becomes more and more important. Right now I don’t want to squash the movement of development.
“Quite honestly, beating the guy across from you every play, if we do that then regardless of the score, we’re going to be a successful football team.”
This year’s squad will see the return of several key players from last year, including star slotback David Mueller and quarterback Jonathan Ericson on the offensive side as well as Grade 12 safety Bryce Woodrow and left tackle Anson Prins.
“Our goal for this season is to go deep into playoffs and maybe, possibly get into a provincial game,” Petrie said, adding that because the Central Alberta High School Football League is so tough with schools like Hunting Hills and Notre Dame, it’s going to be a battle.
“Ultimately, even more than that, it’s to get better week after week.”
The Lacombe Rams will kick off the 2016 season this Friday night when they take on the Hunting Hills High School Lightning at M.E. Global Athletic Park. Kick off on that one is at 7 p.m.