Falcons able to stave off Cobras
Football: Foothills wins thriller in the cold
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 05:53 pm
The only thing that dropped quicker than the Foothills Falcons' momentum in their first-place clash against the Rundle College Cobras was the weather.
The Falcons started hotter than Thanksgiving stuffing fresh out of the oven as they built up a 28-0 first-half lead. However, they just barely hung on for a 35-28 victory in freezing rain at Rundle College in Calgary on Oct. 10 to clinch the Big Rock Conference regular season title.
Falcon coach Darren Olson said his team might have gotten complacent after building what looked like an insurmountable lead. He admitted his squad might have been thinking the high-octane Falcons offence was going to rack up another blowout. It certainly seemed that way from the opening kick-off.
The Falcons marched down the field with running back Josh Koshman and quarterback Hunter Karl chewing up more ground than a farmer at harvest on the opening drive.
It would be capped off by a one-yard sneak by Karl to make it 7-0.
Foothills would increase the lead to 14-0 when Karl scored on another one yard TD run. Koshman gained most of the yardage on the 50-yard scoring drive.
“Koshman had a great game for us,” Olson said. “He was pretty motivated after everybody was talking about (Cobra running back Noah) Muruve all week. He used that motivation.”
Karl then used his strong right arm when he hit receiver Garrett Young over the middle with a bullet pass.
Young promptly broke a tackle and ran into the end zone to make it 20-0.
Foothills appeared to be on Easy Street when Rory Forrester fielded a punt on the Rundle 53-yard line, kicked into hyperspeed and didn't stop until he was in the Cobras' end zone to make it 28-0 with four minutes remaining in the half.
Then the Falcons would receive a preview of some scary things to come in the second half.
The Falcons were able to contain Rundle College's all-everything running back Muruve for most of the first half until he got outside and exploded for a 90-yard TD run to close the gap to 28-7 just before the two teams went to the locker room.
“We did a great job except for that last run of the first half,” Olson said. “He is a very good running back obviously, but all the things we did right in the first half, we did wrong in the second half.”
On Rundle's opening drive of the second half, Muruve would cut to the outside, find a hole and then sprint 80 yards to trim the lead to 28-13.
The Cobras appeared to have momentum going their way when they forced the Falcons to punt on a third-and-13 with just seconds left in the third quarter.
They found out it's dangerous to have the ball in Forrester's hands at any time — even when he is punting.
The Cobras put pressure on Forrester who took off and ran for 13 yards to get the first down.
“That was huge — we didn't call it, he did it on his own,” Olson said. “Rory fell forward at the end of the play and that's why we got the first down. He made a smart play.”
Cobras coach Brent Hargreaves agreed.
“That drive ended up being the winning touchdown,” he said. “We will look back on that play on film and know we have to do a better job.”
The Falcons would feed off Forrester's play and drive it down the field, capped off by an eight-yard TD run by Karl to give them a 35-13 lead.
However, unlike their reptilian namesakes, the Cobras seemed to get faster as the weather got colder.
Muruve romped for an 80-yard touchdown with 9:33 left to close the gap to 35-20.
He would get the Cobras within a major of tying the game when he broke through on a third-and-four from the Falcons' 35-yard line with 4:34 left.
Although the Falcons' defence was wobbling on life support, they came back to life. After a booming punt by Hunter Karl pinned the Cobras on their 24-yard-line with two minutes left, the defence was able to stop Muruve on three-straight plays — including a big stop by Ben Wattie behind the line of scrimmage.
“The first half, our defence, we had some motivation after what happened last year when they beat us in the final,” said Falcons defensive lineman Tanner Mullen. “As it got colder it seemed like it (the motivation) wore off, but we came back in the fourth quarter.”
Falcons offensive tackle Gerritt Blankert was one of the big boys upfront creating holes for Koshman.
“Rundle had the most aggressive front that we faced all year,” Blankert said. “Our line was very aggressive in the first half, but we lost that as it got cold and we lost our intensity.”
Hargreaves said his team had to make some major adjustments at halftime and it paid off.
“We couldn't contain their running back (Koshman) on the inside run so we changed things up a bit,” Hargreaves said. “Offensively, neither team could make too many adjustments because of the weather, I told our guys we just had to show what we are capable of. We challenged our o-line at halftime and they responded.”
The victory gave the Falcons a 4-0 record in Big Rock Conference play. They are 8-0 overall.
Foothills will play the Bow Valley Wolverines at Falcon Field this Friday at 5 p.m. in the Big Rock semifinal. The Cobras will take on the Holy Trinity Academy Knights in Calgary in the other semifinal.
Dates and times have not yet been determined.
The Big Rock final is scheduled for the following week.