Springbank Phoenix shuts out Bert Church Chargers
There weren’t too many positives the Bert Church Chargers could take away from a 51-0 loss against the Springbank Phoenix, Sept. 28, according to Chargers Head Coach Andy Kirk.
“We struggled in pretty much every aspect of the game,” he said. “They completely outclassed us. They were outstanding.”
The Chargers’ struggles began early, after the Phoenix recovered a fumble on Airdrie’ first offensive possession and even when Bert Church caught a break, Springbank responded, shutting down the momentum.
Slotback Kevin Natenstedt led the offensive charge for the Phoenix with two touchdowns and lauded the team’s strong start.
“We came out hard at the beginning and it went from there,” he said. “Our defence has been showing up every day We can’t think about this win at all, really. We have a new game coming up.”
From a fan’s perspective, it was a dominant win for Springbank, but from the bench there were still a few details the team left unaddressed. Mostly blocking assignments and formation ideas, said Phoenix Head Coach Tony Lucas.
“When we looked at the film, there were still quite a few issues we have to work on,” he said. “But it’s nice to be on the other side of the situation. That’s how bad Cochrane would beat us in the past and we’ve been able to do that a couple of teams this year.”
Lucas also noted that the team’s intensity waned in the second half of the game after it built up an insurmountable 44-0 lead. It was something the coaches addressed at the half.
“We tell them to keep playing hard, but that we’re going to play everyone,” Lucas said. “We don’t want players to get injured and you can get injured when you lack intensity, and we tell them that we’re not trying to embarrass anyone. We’re trying to call plays that make it clear that we’re not trying to run up the score.”
In a stark contrast to the Phoenix’ previous game, quarterback Levi Jackson was given room to make plays and, win or lose, he’s often been the difference for Springbank this season. It’s earned him high praise from his coaches and others around the league.
Kirk called Jackson one of the best quarterbacks to come through the Rocky View Sports Association’s (RVSA) football league in the past few years. Lucas has seen the senior grow from a Grade 10 waiting for his chance to shine to a consistent and successful starter.
“It’s his dedication,” Lucas said. “He’s a football fanatic. The thing that differentiates him from other players is that he’s continued to get better. He’s improved his arm strength and his quickness, and he’s been working on his agility. It’s all made a difference.”
The Springbank hosted the Bow Valley Bobcats, Oct. 4, but results were not available at press time. The Bert Church Chargers took on the George McDougall Mustangs in the Airdrie Bowl, on the same day.
Kirk said the game against Springbank would be a learning experience and motivation for a win against its biggest rivals.
“It’s a character builder,” he said. “The big thing for us is how do we respond to this, not what happened because it’s over and done. With the Airdrie Bowl, our kids’ attention is going to be more to detail and hopefully we’ll have a better outing. The motivational aspect will be there for them. It’s their buddies. They don’t want to have that showing again, especially against their friends.”