Wolverines top Spartans for comeback playoff win
By: Justin Brisbane
| Posted: Thursday, Nov 01, 2012 06:00 am
Beyond walls of statistics, opposing strategies and prognosticators, there is still room for flat out miracles in the realm of sport.
Just ask the Bow Valley Wolverines.
The last time the Bow Valley Wolverines played the Olds Spartans in high school football action, they were on the wrong end of a 50-point beating, outclassed in every facet of the game against the big farm school. The Bow Valley squad was in a sad state, with some athletes still wearing their uniforms backwards, and admitting they had never actually watched a game of football.
But Saturday (Oct. 27) was a time for revenge.
The Wolverines won their first playoff game in more than two years with a 19-18 come from behind upset win over Olds.
“We’ve now won three in a row. This is the first playoff game they’ve ever won. It’s an important milestone,” said head coach Chad McClenaghan,
Bitter temperatures and high winds hindered Canmore’s offence, and Olds used their homefield advantage to earn an early 18-6 lead. Landon Sandford had the Wolverine’s lone touchdown.
“We couldn’t hold onto the ball very well in the first half,” McClenaghan said. “We knew the score wasn’t legit and thought if we could hang in there, we could get back into the game.”
Desperately trying to keep their season alive, the Wolverines’ defence took over. Defenders made three interceptions and had four fumble recoveries as they wore down the Olds offence.
Sandford sacked the Olds quarterback, which led to a mad scramble ending when Wolverine defensive tackle Joe Salisbury jumped on the ball in the end zone. That brought the score to 18-12.
“We were hitting hard. Our defence was strong,” McClenaghan said.
Momentum on their side, the Wolverines drove down field late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Wes Rose tossed a prayer into the end zone, and fullback Thomas McChesney leapt over three defenders and gobbled up the ball for the touchdown. The extra point gave them the 19-18 lead.
After the offence finished its job, it was up to the Wolverines defence again. They had been perfect all through the second half, and a desperate Olds team threw everything they had at them. But the Wolverines didn’t break.
“We were really hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” McClenaghan said.
When the final whistle blew, the Wolverines were on top of a playoff game for the first time in two years.
“It was a total team effort. I’m real proud of these kids,” McClenaghan said.
At halftime, he told his team to hold on tight to the ball to prevent turnovers. It seemed to work.
The team will face Drumheller this Saturday – another team they’ve failed to beat this year.
“It will take a monumental effort to beat Drumheller. We’re in a good position. Not a lot of people expected us to be here,” McClenaghan said. “We’re getting healthier with a few kids returning from concussions and the team is pretty confident.”
The win isn’t just a milestone for the team, the head coach said, it’s big for football in the Bow Valley.
“This does a lot for football in the valley, period. A lot of kids are seeing success in football, finally. They’ll start taking an interest and trying out for the team,” he said.
“They can still play football and start skiing in December.”