Rams demolish Visiting Bisons on Seniors Night at Leibel Field
Fifth-year Kyle Moortgat led the way with a career-best game for the Rams.
The Regina Rams ended their season with senior night at Leibel field on Friday Oct. 25. The game is a career celebration for the fifth-year players, who were able to end their varsity football careers with a big win. The Rams dominated the University of Manitoba Bisons in all facets of the game. They put up season bests in rushing yards with 234, and points with 47 to the Bisons’ 14. Josh Donnelley was also excellent to finish his season with a career-best four passing touchdowns. For Coach Bryce, the game was a great way to end the season.
“It’s a great way to end the season, but unfortunately we are ending the season. We have a great young group of football players and they battled. We made some mistakes early in the season and we got in our own way a bit, but this is a great young team and we have great things ahead of us.”
During fifth-year night, the seniors came out in full force. Kyle Moortgat finished his Rams journey with a career best in receiving yards, 182. Fellow graduate Ryan Schienbein pitched in another 50, and they had a touchdown apiece. Running back Sam Varao also had a tremendous last game, rushing for 120 yards. Another fifth-year, Colin Stumborg added 52 yards of his own. Jack of all trades Daniel Scraper pitched in with three field goals. On defense, lineman Erik Wicijowski contributed four tackles with three for loss, and senior Cord Delinte added one more. Also dressing for the seniors were Theren Churchill and Braedy Will. Brandon Brooks, Odun Ogidan, Roe Borgmann, and Liam Lerat did not dress due to injury. Coach Bryce had high praise for his graduating students.
“I am really proud of them; they are really good guys. They’ve helped me so much to put this team together, these fifth-year players are great leaders.”
Some of the fifth-years made strides in the Cougar career record books. Ryan Schienbein finishes his career second all-time in career receptions and receiving yards with 184 and 2,461, respectively. Daniel Scraper moves up to fourth all time in total points scored after his three field goals with 161. Defensive lineman Erik Wicijowski also ends his career top-ten in the record books in both sacks and tackles for loss.
The team also acknowledged the academic achievements of All-Canadians Daniel Scraper, Liam Lerat, Ryan Schienbein, and Kyle Moortgat.
For Kyle Moortgat, the game was a great way to cap a career that he wouldn’t trade for anything.
“It really shows that our team is a very good team and we could have gone a lot further. It’s very memorable, I’ll remember this for a long time.”
In his Rams career, Moortgat has been around for five different iterations of the Rams, from the rebuild seasons at the beginning of his career, to the Hardy cup contenders of 2018 who had to heartbreakingly forfeit most of their season. Moortgat developed tremendously in his five years as a Ram, to the point where he led the receiving core offensively in his final season, finishing with a team high in receptions and receiving yards.
“[It has] been a journey for sure, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs. [I have] never had to go through so much adversity before. I think that makes us a stronger team and myself a stronger person for going through that. “
For Moortgat, even though he won’t be playing next year, to him the young Rams roster has a lot of potential to improve going forward.
“I think that coming off of this season knowing how close we were to making a run its going to be fuel for the fire to excel next year and go for it all.”
Coach Bryce agreed that while this season didn’t go as planned, the future is looking bright.
“We are building a foundation here. We have been trying to build a program, it’s not a one and done thing. We have two really good successful, talented recruiting classes coming in and that group will be good for years to come. We will be ready to go the distance if we do this right.”
The stats back this assessment up. Rookie QB Josh Donnelley has been fantastic all year and finishes his first career as a starter with 280.7 yards per game and a 60.3 percent completion ratio, good for third in Canada West. He also led the league with a low of 7 interceptions, and QB efficiency rating of 156.1. Second-year receivers Riley Boersma and Bennet Stusek helped him out and finish 7th and 8th in Canada West for receiving yards. Donnelley has exceptional chemistry with Boersma, who together average 20 yards per completion.
Defensively, another duo of second years have came into their own in 2019. Linebackers Ryder Varga and Josh White have combined to lead the team in tackles and in sacks. DB Jaxon Ford has also pitched in big time, and veteran Robbie Lowes will return for his fifth year in 2020.
Their 3-5 record also comes despite two losses by only a single point, and only six games with starting quarterback Donnelly healthy. If the team can avoid injury and continue to improve their consistency, this team could absolutely be Hardy Cup contenders.
The Rams finish their season fifth in Canada West, behind the 4-4 Bisons whom they bested on Friday. The playoffs will begin Nov.2 with the University of Calgary Dinos versus the Bisons and the University of Alberta Golden Bears versus the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The winners will play for the Canada West Championship and then face the eastern winner in the Vanier Cup.