The 2019 Lacombe Composite Rams Football Team held a banquet and awards night to celebrate a successful 2019 season that saw them upset Lindsey Thurber in the semifinals in a thrilling 27-21 win.
Despite going on to a disappointing 31-0 loss in the finals to Hunting Hills, Coach Brian Ross was proud of this team.
“The playoffs were cool. Our win against Lindsay Thurber took a lot out of them. They couldn’t find the switch again against a very good Hunting Hills team. For me it was rewarding,” Ross said.
The big winners on award night were Grade 12 stand-out Zach Schwab who won the Most Value Player and the 4 C’s Award (courage, commitment, contribution and character); and Grade 11 rising star Cody Melnychuk who won Player’s Choice Award and Offensive Back of the Year.
Ross had tonnes to say about his MVP, who he believes can play at any level he chooses in the future.
“He had catches that defy explanation, he is the real deal and he is going to go play wherever he wants to next year. He has a bright future,” he said.
Melnychuk said he learned a lot about leadership from Schwab.
“He was an amazing leader and he definitely deserved it. He can catch anything, he can play any position and he deserved that,” he said.
Schwab credits being able to play with guys like Quarterback Jonathan Ericson to his success within the Rams program.
“It feels pretty amazing to be a part of something like this. It feels great to contribute to everything we are doing around here. It feels really nice,” he said.
Ross and Schwab both agreed that Melynchuk is going to be a leader for the Rams in 2020.
“He will see a lot more time with the ball in hands offensively and he will be the real deal on defence for us. When he figures out how to get in the gym — he is a big kid and he will be the real deal. I really like his style,” Ross said.
Schwab added, “I am so proud of Cody. Last year with him in Grade 10, he had the instinct. He loves the game just as much as I do and I am so proud of the way he has overcome some of the obstacles this year.”
Melynchuk said he hopes he can lead the guys in the locker room the way Schwab did and expects a solid Rams defence next year.
“Cole Lardner is really good on defence, Carson Mottus will be amazing on defence and Ethan Quance will be a great linebacker. I think we will be alright,” he said.
Ross will be losing a tonne of offence with Quarterback Mitch Simmons and Schwab both moving on but Ross said this is how high school football works.
“It is about reloading again. We hope that the young guys we spent time with figure it out. They get to see all the hardware the kids that are graduating are getting and they figure it out. They get in the weight room,” he said.
Ross said the young guys can use the lesson of Schwab and Melnychuk this summer and into next season.
“A kid like Schwab and a kid like Melnychuk practice how they play. The kids are learning that. It is hard to come up from bantam and be a stud when all those kids are big, strong and fast,” he said.
Also taking home awards were:
Defensive Lineman of the Year: Skyler Allarie
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Cam Wetzel
Offensive Back of the Year: Mitch Simmons, Cody Melnychuk
Defensive Back of the Year: Ethan Quance
Most Improved Player: Travis Chessor
Player Contributing the most with the least recognition: Cole Lardner
4 C’s: Zach Schwab
Player’s Choice: Cody Melnychuk
Most Valuable Player: Zach Schwab