This season was something to brag about for the Lacombe Composite High School (LCHS) Rams Boys Soccer Team.
Not only did they have a successful regular season, they achieved something no soccer team in Lacombe or LCHS history has achieved since 1999 – they clinched the league championship, beating out a tough Red Deer team in the final.
Head Coach Gregg Lockhart said the team wrapped up their winning season on June 13th. “Overall, we had seven games in the regular season and we had a 5-2 record,” he said. “Our losses came from Olds, in the second game of the season and to Notre Dame in the sixth game of the season.”
The Rams played neighbouring Lacombe team Central Alberta Christian High School (CACHS) in their very last regular league game.
“We needed a win to get into the top four to get into the ‘A’ side championship, so anything else and we would have finished fifth,” said Lockhart.
The Rams beat CACHS 5-0 in that final game, solidifying their spot in the championships.
Lockhart said CACHS also had a successful season, sitting in third in the league after playoffs. The two Lacombe teams did so well this season, Lockhart and the CACHS coach both thought maybe the two teams would meet at the league championship, but that ultimate Lacombe showdown wasn’t in the cards.
All of the high school league playoff games and the championship game were played on the Red Deer College outdoor fields, in the Red Deer teams’ home turf.
In the semi-final game, LCHS met up with Olds, which seemed to be an even match in the beginning.
“We tied Olds 2-2 and went into sudden death, extra time, and then we scored pretty quick into the half,” said Lockhart.
Rams player David Luymes scored both the tying goal and then the winning goal.
The win sent the Rams into the gold medal game against Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School (LTCHS). The Rams and the Raiders previously met in the very first regular season league game, leading to a Rams win and the Raiders only loss in the league.
“We had practiced a lot and were ready to go through the month of March and April,” said Lockhart. “LTCHS just couldn’t get their team together so when we played them, they lost to us and then never lost to another team.”
In the gold medal game, LTCHS scored early in the game, sending a message to the Rams to step it up. “They just dumped the ball to this really, really, fast boy,” said Lockhart. “He flew down and scored that first shot on net.”
Lockhart then approached the bench and asked who was the fastest on the team and wanted to look after the lightening-quick LTCHS player.
“And then #16, Cody Knight, said ‘I feel fast today,’ and he covered #10 and never left him the rest of the game,” said Lockhart. “LTCHS didn’t have any life after that. They didn’t have a threat anymore.”
The Rams started out the second half down one goal and came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. Luymes scored twice in a row, tying up the game, followed by a third response on net.
“That third goal was big for us,” said Lockhart. “You could see Thurber was done at that point.”
After that it was a showdown with the clock, hoping the lead would hold up. Then surprisingly, a Grade 10 player scored, giving the Rams a bigger lead with 4-1. “After that, I just tried to get as many Grade 12’s out on the field, knowing that we had this championship won,” said Lockhart. “Definitely, this was the strongest group of players that we have ever had.”
The high school soccer league was created in 1999, consisting of the two Lacombe teams, three high schools in Red Deer and the surrounding area. LCHS first won the league championship that inaugural year, but has failed to capture a win ever since.