author: brady lang | sports writer
Green-and-gold clinch first
The Rams have finished first in the Canada West Division.
For the first time ever, the Rams will be riding into the postseason in first place, hosting both possible games in the Hardy Cup playoffs.
The Rams absolutely pummeled the Manitoba Bisons last Saturday in Winnipeg, with the final score being 55-21. After coming out with a 41-0 lead midway through the third quarter, the Rams cruised into the postseason.
The Rams have made huge strides this last season after going 0-8 in 2015, finishing 6-2. This year was a record-setting season for not only the team, but also many individuals on the team. This is the first time ever that the Rams have locked up first in the division since they moved from junior to the CIS ranks in 1999.
Noah Picton has had an incredible season for the Rams, posting gaudy numbers every time he has hit the field. His 224 completions were a Canada West record, while throwing for 3174 yards, which was a CIS record. Picton’s 25 touchdowns were also one short of the Canada West record.
Mitch Picton, Noah’s cousin, also had a tremendous season. Leading the conference in receptions with 58, receiving yards with 834 and touchdowns with 11 (one short of the outright single season record).
The Rams now turn their focus to the UBC Thunderbirds. After posting two wins against the Thunderbirds earlier on in the year, the Rams can’t take the Thunderbirds lightly, especially after their loss to Alberta just a few weeks ago. In the first game against UBC, they knocked UBC off in Vancouver 20-10. Their second game was a 35-33 win at old Mosaic Stadium on Oct. 21.
The Rams win this week was definitely a statement game moving into the postseason. Noah Picton threw for over 447 yards in just two-and-a-half quarters, and the Rams leading receiver Riley Wilson had more receiving yards than the Bisons quarterback, Theo Deezzar, had passing.
The team looks hungry to do some damage against UBC moving into next week’s Hardy Cup semifinal and look to break even more records in the process.
The furthest the organization has ever gone was the 2000 season, when they took a 4-4 club into the Vanier Cup, only to lose by a final of 42-39 to the Ottawa Gee-Gees. The thing is, this team could very well get back there. Anything below a Hardy Cup Championship should be a disappointment after the regular season that the club had in 2016.
The highest the Rams were ranked this season was fourth, and with the Rams potent offense and stellar defense, the sky is the limit heading into the 2016 CIS playoffs.