Learning to fly, but not quite soaring high.
The Foothills Falcons continue to be a work-in-progress as they dropped a 34-13 decision to the Catholic Central Cougars Sept. 10 at Falcons Field.
“I was actually really happy how it went,” said Falcons head coach Nathan St. Dennis. “The reality is we are young, we have a lot of kids learning on the fly right now and they are put in tough situations. We had young kids making great plays against big schools.”
The Cougars' win impoved their record to 2-0 and they are the sixth ranked Tier II team in the province.
They showed why early against Foothills. It was Catholic Central that marched the ball in the opening minutes.
It appeared the Falcons were going to be in for a long night, after Foothills had a two-and-out on the game’s opening drive. The Cougars then marched down the field on a run-heavy 45-yard drive, capped off by a Lucas Authier three-yard TD to take a 7-0 lead.
The Falcons corrected things when they had a one-and-done drive.
Foothills runningback Jonah Waldner took a handoff at the Falcon 35 and ran up the middle, then bounced outside and didn’t stop for 75 yards until he was spiking the ball in the Cougar end-zone to tie the game at 7-7.
“I went up the middle and then I saw this hole and I went through it right to the end zone,” Waldner said. “Our receiver, No. 14 (Caleb Baker) made a huge block and I went around it straight to the end zone.”
The Cougars would take a 13-7 lead near the end of the first quarter when receiver Adam Schaupmeyer took a pass to the outside on play action from quarterback Michael Friesen and waltzed into the end-zone.
Catholic Central added a single to up its lead to seven, but Foothills wasn’t quite done in the opening 24 minutes.
Foothills closed the gap to 14-13 when Grade 10 rookie quarterback Jed Rodriguez called his own number from one yard out. The penalty filled drive was highlighted by a nice catch by Baker who hauled in a Rodriguez pass over the middle for a 22-yard gain.
The Cougars had plans on building on their one-point lead in the second half.
“Our boys played hard and Foothills gave us a good challenge in the first half,” said Cougars head coach Tyler Mantyak. “We had to go back and correct a few things, and obviously our adjustments at half-time worked out.”
The Cougs were led by the 1-2 punch of runningback Authier and qb/rb Derek Trapp in the second half.
“We have a couple of athletes and it nice to spread the ball around a little bit,” Mantyak said. “Those two guys are definitely the tip of the spear for us.”
The Cougars ground game ate up yards and time as they outscored the Falcons 21-0 in the final 24 minutes for the victory.
“They (the Cougars) were very physical and there was a lot of play option,” St. Dennis said. “We haven’t played someone who is that physical and doing what they were doing – a great learning experience for us when you are as young as we are.”
The Falcons’ defence was led by Jaysen Young, who had a sack and caused havoc for the Cougar offence.
“It was a good game, I was proud of our defence, but we can get better — just get back to practice,” Young said.
The middle linebacker credited the Foothills d-line for his success.
“The d-line was doing a good job getting their guys — it was all on the d-line,” Young said.
The Falcons impressed the Cougs’ coach.
“They have good numbers and talking to their coaches, it sounds like they are young,” Mantyak said. “They have a lot of potential and if they keep cleaning things up, they will be just fine.”
The loss dropped the Falcons to 0-2 and they have a bye next week. Foothills and the Okotoks community has Sept. 24 circled on their calendar as the Holy Trinity Academy Knights visit Falcons Field.