Chargers lose heartbreaking semi-final to Phoenix
Shock and disappointment: for the Bert Church High School Chargers football team, they go hand in hand.
The Chargers played a masterful contest in all three phases of the game – offence, defence, and special teams – Oct. 20 against the Springbank Community High School Phoenix.
The team did so for 47 minutes and 10 seconds in the Rocky View Schools Association Tier II semifinal.
The game took place in blizzard-like conditions in Springbank.
However, the final 50 seconds were its undoing, as the Phoenix scored two touchdowns to win the game 12-6.
“It was like magic, I can’t really describe it,” said Phoenix senior linebacker Tanner Randell.
His interception of a Braden Massey pass, followed by his 50-yard rumble for a touchdown, was the game’s defining play with 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
“They had run that play before. I recognized it and I played up on him,” he said.
The play was a pass play from Massey to Karl Louder, who’d beaten the Phoenix on that same play earlier in the game.
“We did a whole lot better than the last time we played this team,” Louder said following the game.
Springbank blanked Bert Church 51-0 in their Sept. 28 regular-season matchup. Louder said the cold, snowy conditions in Saturday’s playoff tilt favoured the Chargers.
“It’s a heart-breaking loss,” he added.
The Chargers scored the game’s first TD in the second quarter on a 17-yard run by Louder. It missed the extra point to lead 6-0 right down to the game’s final minute.
Phoenix quarterback Levi Jackson hit senior wide receiver Adel Boussenane with a 40-yard bomb on the first play from scrimmage before hitting him again in the endzone with a 10-yard strike.
The Phoenix went 50 yards for the score in about 20 seconds.
The Chargers blocked the extra point and weren’t content to sit on the tie.
The Airdrie team fielded the ensuing kickoff and went right to the attack on offence.
Massey gunned the ball at Louder about 15 yards down the middle of the field, only to have Randell break on the ball and return it for the pick 6.
“Our offensive coordinator called the game. He called a great game. He felt that play was going to work. So that’s what we went with.
“There’s no doubt our own compete level was way better than it’s been in a while.”
Phoenix Head Coach Tony Lucas is getting used to this kind of cardiac playoff performance from his guys.
“We’ve had a few of these over the years,” he said. “It just seems we’ve had last-play field goals. We’ve had overtime in the playoffs.
“We’ve been fortunate to come out on the right side of these, several times. I’m very grateful today, too.”