Cowboys steal playoff glory from Eagles
Football: Foothills sees fourth quarter lead disappear in 24-8 loss
By: Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 06:00 am
The Foothills Eagles were made to pay for letting some Cowboys hang around on the weekend.
Foothills saw its modest eight-point lead vanish in the fourth quarter as the Calgary Cowboys (Navy) stormed back with 24 unanswered points to steal a 24-8 victory in Tier I Bantam football playoff action Saturday at Shouldice Park.
“We shut them down to probably 30 yards in the first half and offensively we probably had total yards 150 to 200, ” said Eagles head coach John Price. “Unfortunately, when we got in that red zone, we had a dropped ball for a touchdown, a dropped ball on the backside, we have to capitalize on those opportunities.
“That’s what I told these guys, we played better than they did today, but they made the least amount of mistakes.”
The Eagles got on the board early with some trickery in the red zone. Fullback Ben Tighe was left wide open on a picture perfect play-action fake and allowed to walk into the end zone untouched from five yards out.
Foothills would continue to march the ball down the field with effective running from Tighe, Blake Klotz and David Bowers and confident quarterback play from first-year Bantam Tyson Pitcher.
However, yardage doesn’t always translate to points.
Despite a dominant first-half, the Eagles went into the break with just an eight-point lead due to their struggles in the red zone.
“If we had executed more, I think we would have beat them,” Tighe said. “I think we could beat them, I’m a little disappointed, but we played the best we could.”
Calgary, the top team in the North Division with a 7-1 record in the regular season, got its vaunted running game going in the late stages of the second half.
The Cowboys finally broke through when receiver Brandon Cornies found a seam behind the Eagles secondary and dove into the end zone on a third-and-eight catch and run from 20 yards out.
After the Cowboys took over on downs after a measurement went against the Eagles, slotback Alex Groshak bounced off one tackle, found daylight and sprinted to the end zone for a remarkable 65-yard scamper. Calgary stayed on the ground and wilted the clock down before Groshak punched it in again on a short goal line run with 1:08 on the clock, giving the Cowboys the 24-8 win.
“The momentum swung and it just went crazy in the second half because we’re just trying to get that ball back,” Price said. “The last four or five minutes we’re just trying to stand them up and strip, we need two touchdowns.
“But we had some kids that played exceptionally well. The O-line played well, we had a new kid at centre Carson McKenzie and he did a fantastic job… I was proud of the way the kids played.”
The Eagles now get a shot at redemption. Their loss drops them down to the Tier II playoffs where they will match up with the Calgary Bulldogs in the semifinal on Saturday.
“We’ve got to come out firing, come out ready to win,” Tighe said. “Because I know we can. I think we’re going to go all the way.”
Kick-off is 11 a.m. at Shouldice Park.