June 19th, 2024

Rams come up big in early-season test vs. St. Francis

By Dale Woodard on September 11, 2021.

It was a measuring stick for the LCI Rams.

They measured up.

The Rams downed Calgary St Francis 21-6 in non-league play Friday night at the University of Lethbridge Stadium to improve to 2-1 on the season.

Facing St. Francis in the Calgary squad’s first game of the year, LCI scored on their first possession and Grade 12 veteran Crew Hirsche hit for all three Rams touchdowns as the hosts opened up a 21-0 lead at the half.

Hirsche had two receiving TDs and one rushing, racking up 195 yards in receptions and another 73 on the ground. He also had eight tackles.

Zane Letourneau added 71 yards receiving, while Maxx Hironaka had two interceptions, including one that snubbed out a Calgary drive in the final minutes.

“We started out with a pretty good gain for about 10 yards,” said Rams head coach Patrick Leahy of the opening drive.

“We hit a deep shot to Zane down to the goal line and then we punched it in after that right off the goal line. Obviously, you can’t ask for a much better start than that. It’s huge, especially when you have a team like St. Francis. St. Francis is the measuring stick in this province for success. Historically, you go back over what they’ve done for the past 20 or 25 years (and) against a team like that, if you put yourself in a hole, it’s almost impossible to dig out of because they’re so good at treating the clock and they’re so good defensively. So getting up on the board early, it stretches them a little bit and forces them to move out of what they like to do and it gives us all the freedom to do what we need to do.”

St. Francis provided the lone offence in the second quarter, but the Rams defence was able to withstand the pressure in the dying minutes to post the win.

“When you think about what these kids have gone through over the last two years, that’s our third game for our Grade 11s and 12s after a year off football,” said Leahy.

“So for them to come out here and show that fortitude and hold St. Francis, a provincial powerhouse, to six points and hold them after that, it speaks volumes to what those kids have. Their mettle is off the charts and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

“Our offence struggled, I think they tightened up their defence,” said Hirsche of the second half. “Our defence had to step up and play a lot more minutes, so we had to really dig deep in the last couple of drives and third downs. We had to stop them.”

Given his stats and the win over the formidable opponent, Hirsche enjoyed Friday night’s outing.

“I’ve never had that much fun playing, ever, and that goes to show when you have fun, that can make you achieve great things.”

Hirsche’s first of three majors got things rolling.

“It’s super important,” he said of the early touchdown.

“We’re probably half the size of their school. So to come and surprise them like that is big and we did it in the first half. We’ll just keep improving offensively. I’m excited.”

Leahy noted it was St. Francis’ first game of the season.

“They’re only going to get better. In October and November they’re going to get better and it’s up to us to continue to do the same. There’s nobody on our schedule we should be looking past and as far as we’re concerned next week we’re back to being 0-0. Does it feel nice? It feels really nice. Are we going to celebrate it? We’re absolutely going to celebrate it. But when Monday rolls around and we’re watching tape we’re back to 0-0.”

In late-night Southern Alberta High School Football League action at the U of L Stadium, the Chinook Coyotes downed the Winston Churchill Bulldogs 47-0.

In Claresholm, the Willow Creek Cobras hosted the Taber W.R. Myers Rebels.

A score was unavailable at press time.

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