In a game that pitted two of Airdrie’s top teams against one another as they vied for a spot in the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) Tier 2 Final, it was the George McDougall Mustangs that came out victorious, despite the team’s starting quarterback constrained to the sidelines.
The Mustangs relied on strong run game and ball possession skills to knock off the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers 29-9, Oct. 20.
“It was close until the end and Croxford came to play, we knew they would,” said Mustangs head coach Chris Glass. “It’s a satisfying win and feeling right now.
“To have that team play as hard as they did and have us rise above that and the adversity we had, I am so proud of our guys.”
The Mustangs were dealt a heavy blow midway through the game’s opening quarter when Grade 12 quarterback Max Longchamps left the game with a broken collarbone.
The team then turned to rookie signal caller Matthew Melanson, who came in with limited playing time under his belt.
“We didn’t ask (Melanson) to do too much, but what (he) was able to do was control the tempo, not turn the ball over, keep the guys calm…and make plays that a Grade 10 for his first real significant snaps at quarterback shouldn’t have to do,” Glass said. “I’m super impressed with him.”
Glass added Longchamps would not return for the Mustangs Oct. 27 game, when it takes on the Springbank Phoenix in the Tier 2 Finals. He said he has confidence in his young backup, especially with a week of practice under his belt.
Strong running games from Wyatt Anderson and Josh Seaman were the backbone of the Mustangs afternoon, resulting in a pair of scores for the host team, but the team’s defence and special teams proved to be the difference makers.
On the defensive side, Tristan David Ouellette led the Mustangs charge with a pair of interceptions, including one going back for a touchdown. Kicker Shawn Forrest played a big part in the win, booting three of four field goal attempts through the uprights for nine points.
“We have, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the best kicker I’ve had in my lifetime as a coach and the best kicker in Rocky View,” Glass said. “With the wind, against the wind, it didn’t matter (Forrest) was kicking the ball just incredibly.”
The Cavaliers came into the game with a chip on its shoulder after being defeated by the Mustangs 30-8 earlier in the season.
Head coach Roy Lewis said he wanted his team to be more mentally tough in this second meeting, and, although the result was similar, he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We played our best game of the season,” Lewis said. “You always want to play your best game in your last game.
“All you can do is put the best product on the field (that) you can, and our guys did that. We walked away in pretty good spirits.”
Both teams will return to action Oct. 27, with the Mustangs taking on the Phoenix at the Spray Lake Sawmills Legacy Field in Cochrane at 5 p.m. and the Cavaliers taking on the Chestermere Cowboys in a consolation game at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park at 4 p.m.