Falcons, Knights may finally meet

Rugby: Foothills clinch spot in girls South Central zone final

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 03:08 pm

Foothills Falcon Katie Barker dishes off a pass before getting tackled by a Rundle Cobra. The Falcons won the game 48-0 and will host the South Central zone final June 3 at 5 p.m.
Foothills Falcon Katie Barker dishes off a pass before getting tackled by a Rundle Cobra. The Falcons won the game 48-0 and will host the South Central zone final June 3 at 5 p.m.
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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The two Okotoks schools have taken two different paths as they head into the South Central Zone Tier 1 rugby playoffs this year.

The Holy Trinity Knights have faced tough competition but haven’t won a game all year in the Big Sky Rugby Union.

Meanwhile, the Foothills Falcons are undefeated but haven’t played a tough opponent.

“We haven’t really played a game yet,” said Falcons coach Jarrett Richardson. “We played Banff and they didn’t have full numbers so we lent them some of our girls.

“Today (May 21), Rundle only had 11 girls, but we didn’t want to lend them some girls so we could get at least some cohesiveness going into playoffs.”

The Falcons had a 48-0 lead over the Rundle Cobras when the game was called due to an injury to a player on Rundle’s already depleted roster. The victory gave them first place in the Big Sky with a 3-0 record.

Foothills had previously beat the inexperienced Drumheller Dinos 63-0 to open the season. Richardson called a mandatory attendance practice for May 22, so his team has to be ready when they host the South Central zone final June 3.

“We have to work on how we take the ball into contact and work on some offensive and defensive organization,” Richardson said. “This is a great group of girls to work with, we just haven’t had time... We want to win zones and make a splash at provincials.

“That is our ultimate goal.”

The one making the biggest splash in high school rugby this year is Mother Nature. Rain and wet fields has wiped out much of the high school schedule — including the HTA Knights playing the Falcons.

That’s akin to the Flames not playing the Oilers or the Hatfields never meeting the McCoys.

Foothills flanker Katie Fenner, the Falcons Lady of the Match against Rundle, said she hopes to meet HTA in the final on June 3.

“I am so ready to play HTA — they beat us last year and I just want to go in there and beat them,” said Fenner.

Richardson also hopes to play the Knights, it will give him a chance to chat with fellow Foothills Lions teammate Darcy Gallant.

“I know their coach very well and I coached some of the girls with the U-15 Lions, I kind of know what they can toss at us,” Richardson said.

There’s no guarantee the Knights, the defending zone champions, and the Falcons will meet in the final. The Knights must get by the Bow Valley Cobracats in the semifinal tonight (May 28) at HTA at 5 p.m.

The Knights could use a win — they are 0-2 in the shortened, soggy Big Sky season.

The Knights’ lost 31-29 to the Strathmore Spartans on May 14. Their game last week was cancelled. They were previously beaten by the powerful Tier II Springbank Phoenix 34-15.

Still, Gallant is optimistic going into zones.

“In our losses we weren’t playing to our potential that’s for sure,” Gallant said. “I still think we are the team to beat in Tier I, but we will see what happens this week.”

If the Knights do push their season forward, it will be on the backs of their forwards.

“Our strength is in our forwards and we know that,” Gallant said. “We’re going to try and grind it out and get to provincials.”

Knight Jenna Morrison won’t be available for zones as she will in B.C. trying out for the national team. Tough rugby boots to fill, but Gallant hopes his team can come together.

“I think it is more the mental thing with the girls worrying about her not being out there,” she said. “But we have had a couple of Grade 11 girls (backs) Tegan Donnelly and Colleen Rab who have made huge strides.”

HTA Knight #8 Macia Schneider said their losses to Springbank and Strathmore may not be indicative as to how well the team can play.

“We were fairly evenly matched and it could be argued we should have won the match,” Schneider said. “If we can play as well as we can, I don’t think it will be problem.”

That would mean a showdown with Foothills for a chance to go to provincials.

“It would have been great to play them earlier so we would have some idea of what they are like,” Schneider said. “I know they have a lot of new girls, but they are the team to beat.”

If HTA wins, the South Central Tier I girls final is at 5 p.m. June 3 at the Comp. If Bow Valley wins the final is May 29 at the Comp. The South Central Zone Tier II finals will take place next weekend at the Calgary Rugby Union.

The Oilfields Drillers will play Drumheller at 11 a.m. Saturday at the CRU in a consolation game.

The Highwood Mustangs will play the Springbank Phoenix Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the semifinal. The final is at 1:45 p.m. Saturday.

The CRU is located at 9025 Shepard Road S.E.

bcampbell@okotoks.greatwest.ca


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