The host Clavet Cougars earned a 72-70 victory over the Dalmeny Cougars in an offensive, back-and-forth shootout during the 2A 6-man Provincial Championship Final on Saturday, November 11.
The contest came right down to the wire. With under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Clavet had the ball on their own 40-yard line and a couple of first downs would’ve sealed it for the club. However, a penalty forced Clavet even deeper in its own end and Dalmeny’s defence forced a two-and-out.
“We ended up in a spot where our emotions got the better of us and we weren’t able to move the ball the way we wanted to,” said Clavet coach Shaun Priel. “We tried to punt the ball on third down and there was a bit of a miscommunication between out quarterback and our kicker and our snap wasn’t in the right place.”
With less then 20 seconds left on the clock, Dalmeny had the ball around midfield and one last chance to win the contest but Clavet’s defence game up big to win the game.
“The boys wanted this one bad and they weren’t going to quit. I’m pretty proud of the guys, they battled right to the end and we made a few mistakes that cost us,” said Dalmeny coach Stephen Kowalchuk.
Even though Dalmeny just came up short, the silver medal is still a big accomplishment.
“Considering where we started from five years ago, to have a provincial medal, I’m happy with where we’ve come, but we really wanted to get that gold,” Kowalchuck said.
Priel was proud of the way Clavet played and was glad the youth were able to pull off the win.
“I’m happy for the kids. We talked about how having success this year and winning with this group of kids would be fun because they’re great kids,” he said.
Clavet finished the regular season undefeated and to conclude its football season with a provincial championship made their season even more of a success.
Dalmeny started the game on offense, but on their opening drive they fumbled the ball on their own 40-yard line and Clavet recovered it. It didn’t take too long for Clavet to score. Quarterback Ayden Cummins threw a touchdown pass to Zack Erixon and after the convert the home team lead 8-0.
Dalmeny responded on its next drive after quarterback Bailey Tisdel found Nic Slobodian in the end zone. After the convert, the game was tied 8-8.
Clavet took a 16-8 lead with around four minutes remaining in the first quarter and on that ensuing kickoff the home team pinned Dalmeny deep in its own end. On Dalmeny’s first play of that drive, running back Thomas Neudorf found some holes in the defence and took the ball close to the opposition’s goal line.
On that possession Dalmeny was facing a third and goal situation and were only a few yards away from the end zone but turned the ball over on downs.
Clavet executed a couple of long plays to get near Dalmeny’s 10-yard line and just like Dalmeny, turned the ball over on downs.
Clavet’s defence again stopped Dalmeny short on third down and the offence responded with a touchdown to take a 22-8 lead.
The visitors responded to that score with one of their own and after making the convert only trailed 22-16. The offensive showcase continued as Clavet quickly found the end zone, and after missing its second convert, led 28-16.
Dalmeny’s next possession was stalled after a fumble deep in Clavet’s zone. However the Dalmeny defence came up big and forced a two-and-out, along with a punt. On their next drive Dalmeny scored and only trailed 28-24.
“It’s what you want your players to be able to do, to be able to bounce back and I feel like we did that a few times, but unfortunately, there were a few other times that we just weren’t able to make the plays we needed,” Kowalchuk said.
Clavet scored late in the second quarter. However after another missed convert they led 34-28 at the half.
The home team had the ball to start the third quarter and that drive concluded with a Hunter Shmon touchdown, which was his fifth of the game.
The rest of the third quarter was all Dalmeny as they scored three consecutive touchdowns, which was aided by a couple of third down conversions and the defense came up big with an interception.
“We had a way better second half, it was good to see us bounce back after a tough start,” Kowalchuk said.
Dalmeny led 56-50 to begin the fourth quarter, but Clavet was able to score a converted touchdown early in the frame to regain the lead. Clavet also ended up scoring another two unanswered touchdowns to take a 72-56 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the game.
The resilient Dalmeny club ended up scoring a touchdown with 1:42 remaining but they missed the convert, which proved costly. The visitors were able to get the ball back around midfield with 58 seconds on the clock. On the first play Tisdel threw a long pass to Nic Slobodian, which resulted in a touchdown to make the score 72-70.
Both clubs expected it to be a close game and the crowd definitely got their money’s worth.