Their offence was never in question.
No team held the Mount Douglas Rams below 40 points scored this season, but it wasn’t until the playoffs that the Rams’ finally stopped the bleeding in their own end.
With the defence in place, the Rams steamrolled to their second-straight AAA high school football championship, blowing out the Vancouver College Fighting Irish 51-14 in the 2012 Subway Bowl at B.C. Place on Saturday (Dec. 1).
“Our D-line took leaps and bounds from the beginning of the season to the end,” said Grade 12 linebacker Mason Swift. “By the end, (opposing) quarterbacks didn’t have time to throw and running backs didn’t have space.”
The 6-foot, 210-pound running back was named Subway Bowl MVP for the second time in two years, namely for punching in four touchdowns against the Irish on Saturday. He’s a renowned offensive star in B.C. high school football, and is credited as “the heart and soul” of the 2012 team by Rams coach Mark Townsend.
Swift downplays his second Subway Bowl MVP, saying it has to go to the winning team, though he recognizes its benefit on the resumé.
It’s easier for him to admit the Rams lagged defensively at the start of the season, especially since his team rampaged through the playoffs with wins of 45-20 and 41-15.
The biggest scare of the season came on Oct. 13, when the Rams suffered a last minute 52-49 loss to the W.J. Mouat Hawks. That day Maleek Irons rushed against the Rams at will for 491 yards and scored five touchdowns. To put it in perspective, the Rams’ total offensive gains in the Subway Bowl is said to be just over 500 yards.
“It had a lot to do with trust,” Swift said. “We eventually filled the holes and kept to our assignments.”
Away from the football field, Swift and some of the Grade 12s had a challenging weekend trying to prepare for a Biology 12 midterm, which they wrote Monday morning. Academically, Swift wants to keep his options open, and that includes sciences, as well as which university he’ll play football for.
Canadian schools want him, but Swift is holding out hope for a spot down south.
“I’m not actually sure if there’s a deadline but I’m hoping to get some attention with Team B.C. (U18) when we travel to Texas in January.”
Team B.C. holds another round of tryouts later this week and will soon cut from 60 to 40 players. Making the team should be a formality for Swift, however, as he was Team B.C.’s running back in 2011. He will likely have a spot somewhere in the back field, perhaps beside Irons. Marcus Davis and other Rams are also vying for a spot on Team B.C.
As the Rams look back on their second B.C. title, some of the key pieces stand out a little more, Swift included. Swift’s leadership cannot be replaced, Townsend said. There may not be another Mason Swift on the Mount Doug Rams, but his attitude and discipline will live on as an example through other players, part of the Rams “family” that Swift has become so fond of in the last four years.
“I’ve come to realize how much it doesn’t matter how well I do, it’s about earning the win with the boys, and honestly, if the team doesn’t win you won’t get the MVP, so it’s all about the W.”
Subway Bowl summary
Saturday’s win marked the Rams third B.C. championship in four years, including their 2009 AA win.
The Rams opened the scoring in the first quarter on a drive capped by a five-yard TD rush by Swift.
A few minutes later, the Irish punted. Marcus Davis returned the punt (pictured below), pulled some “jukes” to open up space, made a player or two look silly, and darted 65 yards for a touchdown, 14-0.
Davis soon struck again, one minute into the second quarter. He took the ball from quarterback Ashton MacKinnon deep in Rams’ defensive territory and ran it back 85 yards for his second TD, 21-0.
“Marcus has a thing for (punt/kick) returns. He has field vision like no other, sees holes and is patient and shoots through them before anyone can react,” Swift said.
Before the half was over Swift ran in another short TD, caught an 11-yard TD pass from MacKinnon, and Callum Duke kicked a field goal. It was 38-7.
“We challenged our key, skilled players like Mason and Marcus and others to have biggest games on the biggest stage. Mason and Marcus delivered on that and more as each of them had superstar performances,” Townsend said.
The Rams cranked downfield early in the second half with another successful drive, capped by another short run by Swift, his fourth TD, 45-7. Still in the third quarter, receiver Brian Dowds caught a 20-yard pass from MacKinnon for the Rams seventh and final strike, 51-14.
Swift score four TDs, three rushing and one reception. Davis scored two, Dowds one, and Callum Duke hit six of seven point-after attempts and a field goal.
Graduating from the Rams this year is a crop of star players destined for the CIS, and possibly NCAA. Leading the way are Mason Swift at running back, Brian Dowds at receiver and Mitch Pearse at strong safety. Also gaining interest are defensive tackle Peter Allan and defensive lineman Sasha Shurvin, as well as offensive lineman Matt Power, who “played his finest game in his final high school game,” on Saturday, earning the Rams’ Lineman of the Game, Townsend said.
Grade 11s Marcus Davis and quarterback Ashton MacKinnon return for 2013 to lead a team that will compete for a three-peat.
“I don’t like to make predictions but, I will say we’ll have a competitive team that is going to work their butts off to get to the Subway Bowl in 2013,” Townsend said.