Rugby repeat out of reach for Banff boys
Sorry Banff Rugby fans, there will be no encore.
The Banff Community High School boys rugby team missed a chance to repeat as provincial champions, coming home with the silver medal instead from the Ellerslie Rugby Club in Edmonton.
The game was the final of head coach John Petroff’s career, who for the past 30 years led the bulk of Banff’s sport’s teams onto the field.
Banff battled through the quarter and semifinal matches, however Winston Churchill, out of Lethbridge, the team Banff defeated last year in the provincial final, exacted revenge to the tune of a 43-0 score on Saturday (June 9).
“We got hammered. They were dominating the opposition all tournament long. We gave them two easy tries later in the game so the score looked worse,” said Petroff.
Banff started off strong on Friday with a 17-10 win over Parkland High School out of Edson. Again, the score didn’t tell the entire story, Petroff said.
“We scored two more tries than we were given credit for, but the referees were indecisive with the calls.”
The win sent Banff to the semifinals where they drew Fort McLeod, a team they’ve faced three years straight. Banff fell behind 12-0 in the first half and things looked grim. It was the first time all year Banff had trailed in a game but despite holding a territorial advantage they couldn’t score.
However, the second half brought renewed optimism and Banff scored twice to earn the win.
“It was a come from behind win, which was something we haven’t had to do this year,” Petroff said.
That set up the final on Saturday against the Lethbridge school, which proved to be lopsided. Ranked tops in the province, Winston Churchill had trounced its opposition through the quarter and semifinals, shutting out its opposition 62-0 and 57-0 before running into Banff.
“It was a physical mismatch,” Petroff said. “They were a large team with some big boys. We beat them last year, but we were a little stronger last year and that was exposed. They were out to settle a score.”
Banff had their chances and gave up two tries late in the game that made the score look worse, but were no match for the Winston Churchill squad.
Coach Alex ‘Boof’ Boston said the Banff boys tried their hearts out, but were beaten by a better squad in the final.
“We were outplayed by a bigger team. They were coming up the line so quickly and running so hard… They lost to us last year and they definitely took it personally,” Boston said.
Banff collected their silver medals, which culminates the end of a strong three-year run for the school.
“Rugby has been very satisfying the past few years. We’ve won three zone titles and one provincial title and in that time we’ve only lost one league game,” Petroff said.
“There were a couple of tears in the eyes at the end, but every guy who played gave 100 per cent,” Boston said.
Despite 30 years of coaching experience, Petroff attributes the success to others.
“I attribute that to the involvement of the Banff mens club, specifically Sinclair Hunt, Alex Boston and Cody Skrine. I can’t adequately describe the value of those three gentlemen to this program,” Petroff said.
Boston praised the efforts of the team, noting they had strong team play.
“It’s amazing how far they’ve come this year. They’ve come together as a team. Last year we had a lot of individuals who were good. This year we didn’t have a superstar,” Boston said.
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