author: brady lang | sports writer
Football team snap winless streak
The Rams have won their first game in 21 months.
After going nearly two full calendar years without a win, the Rams knocked off the number eight ranked Manitoba Bisons, 41-38 at Mosaic Stadium on Thursday night.
The two teams exchanged the lead seven times throughout the game, with the Rams taking the lead with 25 seconds left in the game to take down the Bisons.
The game looked out of reach with 95 seconds left, but Rams third-year quarterback Noah Picton orchestrated two drives to score two touchdowns to pull ahead late in the third.
Picton says just getting the ball in the hands of the receivers and letting them make plays were his biggest focus in those drives.
“You realize that you’re going to have to score a couple times to win the game, but understand that with the time we had on the clock we didn’t have to do it all at once,” says Picton, “ I Just tried to move the chains methodically and when we had the opportunity to put the ball in the end zone, we did. I just tried to get the ball to the receivers and let them make the plays, which they did a tremendous job of. Those types of situations are why you play the game, it’s fun.”
Picton threw for 499 yards, forty completions and four touchdowns in the win, but Picton says the records and the stats have no meaning unless the win is put on the board.
“To be completely honest, the records themself don’t mean a whole heck of a lot. It doesn’t matter how many yards you throw for [or] touchdown passes, if your team doesn’t win, so that’s really where my focus is at each game. Putting up those numbers, though, is a testament to the players I’m surrounded with and coaches that put together the game plan.”
After the win, Picton also commented that beating a top-ten team instilled a belief in the team within the locker room, something that coach Steve Bryce has done well with for the team.
“I would say that being able to beat a team like Winnipeg, who is a top-ten-ranked team in the nation instilled a belief amongst us that if we prepare and come ready to play we can compete with anybody. Since coach Bryce has gotten here he has emphasized the brotherhood and camaraderie amongst the players and I think it has been a huge factor in the unity that we have in the locker room. Guys have really bought into each other and I think Coach Bryce is to thank for that.”
Bryce, who is Regina-born, notched his first head coaching win on Thursday, moving the team’s record to 1-1. Picton says that the culture he brought to the club was huge in the win.
“Not only being a local guy, but Coach Bryce being a former Ram himself has been great for the club. He understands what the Regina Rams are about and what this team means to the community. He has really instilled that culture into us players.”
The offense was definitely on display this past week at Mosaic. Two Rams players caught for over 100 yards, and Picton was within a yard of cracking the 500-yard plateau. Picton says a lot of the credit falls in the hands of second-year offensive coordinator and former Ram Mark McConkey.
“Mark has been great to work with. He’s a very intelligent guy who understands the X’s and O’s of football. Having played one year with Mark in my first season while he was in his seventh year as a receiver with the team allowed me to get to know him well prior to him being named the OC. That was great for our working relationship. I completely trust what he’s doing with the offence and feel confident he will put us in a good position to win. He also does a great job of allowing others to give input to what they think will work and really adapts to the players’ skill sets.”
All in all, Picton says this one was a win he would not soon forget.
“It was incredible, to win a game in that fashion was something that this team and myself are very excited and proud about. I thought it showed a lot of character from the guys to battle back like that in the end.”
Noah Picton went 40/60 for 499 yards passing, four touchdowns while rushing six times for 25 yards with a rushing touchdown…second-year running back Blake Anaka rushed for 79 yards on 11 carries…fifth-year receiver Riley Wilson caught 8 passes for 127 yards, , third-year receiver Khalid Kornegay caught six passes for 94 yards and a touchdown, while second-year receiver Ryan Schienbein caught nine passes for 75 yards and led the Rams with two touchdown catches…Two Rams also intercepted the ball once in Bready Will and Joey Dwyer, while third-year linebacker Danny Nesbitt lead the team with 14 tackles defensively… Rams kicker Daniel Scraper kicked two field goals on two tries from 41 and 15 yards.
The final attendance count from the Rams home game on Thursday was 1500, as reported on the Rams website.
Regina (1-1) will now travel to UBC to face the Thunderbirds (1-1) who are coming off of a 35-8 loss in Calgary. The Rams lost their one preseason game against Calgary 37-13 in Medicine Hat.
The Rams next home game is Sept. 23 against the University of Calgary Dinos.