Mustangs set up final rematch with semi final win
A tight, defensive first half gave way to a flood of scoring for the George McDougall Mustangs as it punched its ticket back to the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) football finals with a 44-15 win over the Chestermere Cowboys, Oct. 19.
With Cowboys Eric Taubert getting the team on the board with a minute left in the first half, it was up to George Mac to wrestle momentum back and Head Coach Brent Legault said it was a matter of trust that turned things around for Airdrie.
“I think a lot of it was making small adjustments,” he said. “They were breaking out well and getting in the right spots, it was just a matter of putting everything together and realizing that they could trust themselves to do it. The defence played really great, the receivers had to trust their hands and the quarterback has to trust his line, and that’s what they did.”
Josh Duazo scored first for the Mustangs and triggered the team’s offence.
Damon Jonson, Phillip Hallett and Lance Villemaire were among the other scorers for George Mac and Duazo said he and Hallett took the halftime pep talk the team received to heart.
“Our O-line coach told us that the bigger the player you are, the bigger effect you have on the team,” the running back said.
“Phil and I knew we were being lazy and we could see it following through the ranks. Not everyone was going at full pace. We had to play like we usually do because it wasn’t like us to be lazy like that.”
The Mustangs’ depth was a key cog in the team’s win, according to Legault and Duazo agreed, saying it keeps pressure off some of the first-string players when the scoring is spread out and makes the team harder to contain.
For Chestermere, the defeat meant it misses out on the RVSA gold medal final for the second time in two years.
“It was just a really strange game,” said Cowboys Head Coach Brian Utley. “It was a defensive-oriented game and we opened it up and got the interception in the last minute (of the first half). It gave us a lot of confidence going into the second half. We had great field position and a turnover that if we had scored there, I thought we had a chance to win the game. It got away from us, but we were in it for three quarters.”
While Chestermere was able to stifle George Mac’s offence to the outside, when Legault and company changed it up and began to run up the middle, Utley said the Cowboys weren’t able to adjust, which made a difference in the second half, along with penalty trouble the team got into.
“Penalties were big,” he said. “We took some bad ones and a couple were questionable calls, but we had them deep twice and we took undisciplined penalties. It kills you.”
George McDougall now finds themselves in a very familiar situation, matching up against the Springbank Phoenix in the final for the third year in a row on Oct. 27 in Springbank. It’s the Mustangs fourth trip to the finals in as many years and it’s looking for what it has been denied every time: the gold medal.
If the past two years are any indication, it will be the most exciting game of the year for both teams, not only given what’s at stake but for how competitive the last two finals have been. Springbank has won two years in a row in overtime using the same game-winning play.
“We’re going to be pumped up for that game,” said Duazo. “We don’t want to lose that one again.”