Sunday, September 13, 2015

Senior Mustangs defeat Bobcats in Cochrane

2015 Senior Mustangs in Cochrane
J. Davis photos and video 
Josh Davis

On Friday September 11, the Pincher Creek Mustangs won their away exhibition game against the Cochrane Bobcats 34-19. The Mustangs started the game off incredibly strong, setting the pace with their kick-off team, completely walling the Bobcats offense with their defensive line, and scoring an early-game touchdown. They remained in the lead in the second quarter, but the Bobcats' offensive managed to make a touchdown by running the ball down the Mustangs' outside lane. The Mustangs ended the first half of the game in the lead 21-7. At the start of the second half the Mustangs suffered from a few minor penalties and misplays, and the ended the quarter still in the lead but by only two points, 21-19. However, the Mustangs pulled together and got their heads back in the game in the fourth quarter, and scored two more touchdowns for good measure to secure a decisive 34-19 win.

The weather was warm and sunny in Cochrane, and the Mustangs were in a pretty good mood getting off the bus. Head Coach Wayne Alexander felt his team was fairly well prepared for this game. “We’re the best we’ve ever been in terms of pass completion,” he said. The focus of the coaches’ talks going into the game was keeping player’s minds in the game, avoiding penalties, tackling hard, and setting the pace with their kick-off and kick-off return teams.

Mustangs #81 TE-DE/LB Matthew Duncan making a catch

The Bobcats received the opening kick, and were held back by the Mustangs impressive defensive line back near the 30 yard line, quickly losing possession. The Mustangs’ offense was playing aggressively, and #81 Matthew Duncan made an impressive catch at the 19 yard line. Taking it to the 9 yard line for a first down, the Mustangs then made three plays in rapid succession. They pushed to the 5 yard line, then made a handoff to #10 Shay Robertson, taking it to the 3 yard line. From there they scored the first touchdown of the game just minutes in. Following this, the Bobcats really looked to test the Mustangs’ defense, finding weaknesses at the edge and making a few long runs. However, they were not able to push far past the centre of the field before the Mustangs regained possession. Following this #18 Logan Kaack caught a short pass down the Bobcats similarly weak outside, and ran undefended. He made his sixth touchdown on the season here, and following the convert put them ahead 14-0. The Mustangs’ kick team again proved its worth, back to the 18 yard line shortly the Mustangs’ defence then pushed them back another 7 yards.

Mustangs #18 SLB-LB/DHB Logan Kaack with the ball
In the second quarter the Bobcats made small gains, gradually chipping away at the Defense before the Mustangs offensive took the reins near centre field. The Mustangs’ offense had trouble gaining ground here, and punted the ball back to the Bobcats. Here, the Bobcats took advantage of the one weakness they had found in the Mustangs’ defence, and managed to get a touchdown on the outside. They succeeded in their kick, leaving the score 14-7. However, the Mustangs immediately retook their 14 point lead, with Duncan making a touchdown off the Bobcats kick. With 3 minutes left in the second, the Bobcats continued to make small gains where they could. Kaack made a great interception here, and the Mustangs held their lead. #12 Kyle Knowlton impressed me with his teamwork and communication, working with #66 Jaeger Hann on correcting mistakes they had made on offense. Positive communication is tremendously valuable, and the boys proved it on the field. The whole team was working together to keep everyone’s heads in the game and spirits high. The Mustangs gain some good yardage here, and the first half ended with the Mustangs ahead 21-7.

Mustangs #12 QB-C/S Kyle Knowlton prepares to pass
The Mustangs won the coin toss, and had their first down of the third quarter off the 40 yard line. The Mustangs were making minor misplays and penalties at the start of the second half, and the Bobcats made a second touchdown, though the Mustangs blocked the conversion. #88 Liam VaEe then made a good interception. However, the Bobcats once again made a long run through the Mustangs defence by playing to the one gap they found on the side. The Mustangs again blocked this conversion. They got their heads back into the game, and made it to the 10 yard line right before the quarter ended with the Mustangs just barely ahead 21-19.

Mustangs #20 SLB-LB Tyler Riviere with the ball
The Mustangs got the ball to the three yard line, and Kaack earned his second touchdown of the game right at the start of the fourth quarter. Their conversion attempt was blocked here. The Mustangs managed to keep the game on the Bobcat’s side of the field, making an easy touchdown with a wedge formation from the two yard line. They suffered a few minor penalties here, but more than made up for it in yardage gained from their plays. The final score was 34-19.

Mustangs #35 FB-LB Ben Riviere tackles a Cochrane player
“It wasn’t a complete game, but we didn’t break,” said triumphant Mustangs Head Coach Wayne Alexander upon boarding the bus. “The opening possession tells us a lot."

 “The game plan was to kick-off to them, pin them deep in it, and put the ball in a field position for a touchdown, which is exactly what happened. We ran the ball, we passed. Those were the first two plays I wanted to run. I wanted to get our quarterback a completion, I wanted that receiver to catch the ball, and I wanted to make yards on the first line. And we did it all!” He was proud of this year’s senior Mustangs for keeping their heads in the game, and not giving up when the Bobcats started to catch up.

“I’m proud of my boys,” said Game Day Co-ordinator Dan Crawford. “The highlight for me is seeing the smiles on their faces when they come back in off the field after doing something well, whether it’s a run, a catch, a hit, or a block, whatever it is.” He said the Mustangs kept their heads, and didn’t get down on themselves when something went wrong. “We played with respect.” He also commented on the growth he saw in young quarterback Kyle Knowlton. “He made some really good plays out there.” He also commented on the teamwork and camaraderie of his players. “When it works, it’s because the whole team works, at the same time, and in the same direction. If one person doesn’t do it right, then the play doesn’t work. We had a lot of plays that worked.”

Mustangs #22 SLB/R-C/S/DH BBruce Kirby blocking a Cochrane play
Next game:

Pincher Creek's Senior Mustangs are next scheduled to play against High River's own Mustangs in another exhibition game on Saturday September 19 in High River, with kick-off scheduled for noon.  High River will be looking to improve on the blanking they received at Pincher Creek's hands on August 28.

Gallery: 2015 Senior Mustangs
Photos by T. Lucas. C. Davis, J. Davis

2015 Senior Mustangs Schedule:
(home games in blue, schedule subject to change)
  • Saturday August 22: Exhibition vs McCoy Colts @ Halton Field,  Score: 18-7 Mustangs
  • Friday August 28: Exhibition vs High River Mustangs @ Halton Field, Score: Wide margin win for Pincher Creek 
  • Thursday September 3: Exhibition vs Canmore Wolverines @ Halton Field, Pincher Creek, Score: 28-13 Wolverines
  • Friday September 11: Exhibition vs Cochrane Bobcats @ Bow Valley field, Score: Score: 34-19 Mustangs
  • Saturday September 19: Exhibition vs High River Mustangs in High River, Noon kickoff
  • Friday September 25: SAHSFL game vs Taber Rebels @ Halton Field, Pincher Creek, 4:30 pm kickoff - first regular season game
  • Friday October 2: SAHSFL game vs Claresholm Cobras @ Claresholm, 7:00 pm kickoff
  • Thursday October 8: SAHSFL game vs Chinook Coyotes @ Halton Field, Pincher Creek, 4:30 pm kickoff
  • Tuesday October 20: Exhibition vs Chestermere Cowboys in Chestermere, 5 pm kickoff
Tentative playoff games determined at season end:
  • Friday October 29 SAHSFL Playoff
  • Saturday November 14 Provincial Quarterfinal
  • Saturday November 21 Provincial Semi-Final
  • Friday/Saturday November 27/28 Provincial Championships

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