Perhaps the rise of the Mount Douglas Rams AAA varsity football team should have been more obvious, but no one saw this coming.
It sets up a Subway Bowl final between the Rams and Vancouver College Fighting Irish, 7 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 1) at B.C. Place Stadium. The Irish defeated the St. Thomas More Knights 42-20 in the other AAA semifinal.
Maybe the Rams win should have been more obvious, because in last year’s semifinal the Rams upset the province’s top-ranked team, St. Thomas More.
“(Saturday) was perhaps our most complete game I have seen any Rams team play ever,” said head coach Mark Townsend. “Our offence was able to capitalize on great execution from our special teams.”
Going into the Saturday’s semifinal, all eyes were on Hawks tailback Maleek Irons, who rushed 491 yards on 48 carries in the Hawks 52-49 win over the Rams on Oct. 13.
But this time it was all Rams.
When the Hawks came up empty on their first drive, the Rams stormed down field for a 7-0 lead on a 75-yard touchdown run from AAA Player of the Year Marcus Davis.
In a unique sequence of plays, the Rams executed a strategy that took the Hawks out of the game by attempting and recovering two consecutive onside kicks.
Callum Duke’s first kick was perfect and was recovered by Stephan Lechinsky. Running back Mason Swift capped the ensuing drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
“We felt we had a chance to drive a hard squib kick off one of their front line players,” Townsend said.
“It’s a strategy we practised all last week.”
Duke attempted a second onside kick, which bounced off a Hawks player, and was once again recovered by
Lechinsky. Quarterback Ashton MacKinnon finished that drive with a 16-yard TD strike to Davis, his second of three in of the game.
“On the night, we weren’t up to the challenge,” Mouat head coach Denis Kelly said.
“You’ve got to give credit to them. They came out with a lot more energy and a lot more intensity at the start. We couldn’t really establish our game, and moreover, we had real trouble stopping them.”
The Rams were up 41-0 by the time Mouat scored in the second half. Irons was held to 120 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown, a solid game but a far cry from his last effort against the Rams.
Davis scored his third touchdown on a 20-yard run and Swift scored his second on a 17-yard dash. Receiver Brian Dowds caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from MacKinnon.
The Rams now prepare for the Fighting Irish, which makes its first appearance in the AAA Subway Bowl since winning it against the Terry Fox Ravens in 2010.
Leading the Irish’s offence is a “three-headed monster,” running back Liam Mahara, receiver Rashaun Simonise, and the strong-armed quarterback Hunter Robinson.
“Vancouver College is a talented and well-coached team and we have great respect for them,” Townsend said.
The Rams and Fighting Irish met on Oct. 5, a 54-32 Rams’ win at Royal Athletic Park. On Thursday (Nov. 21) the junior Rams lost 14-7 in their AAA semifinal to the Terry Fox Ravens.
Follow the Rams’ season here: