author: nathan mccarville | sports writer
Wanted an arm, got a cannon instead/Nathan McCarville
Milestone setting start in season
Making my debut on the sidelines as the Carillon’s new on field correspondent as well as amateur photographer, I’ve been able to experience quite a few things about the dynamics of football on the sidelines. Among these experiences are nearly being run over by a Manitoba Bisons’ receiver while my eye was looking through the lens (for once I’m thankful of an opponent’s fancy footwork ensuring my survival as well as that of the camera). The contagious euphoria spread by the Rams when a teammate completes a fantastic play, some witticisms by the players (my favourite so far coming from an unknown Dino, ”You better bring the punch if you’re going to throw a party“), and the displeasure and irritation when the referee calls a nonsensical penalty on the part of the coaches all highlight my experience.
The Rams began the 2018-19 season on Au 22 against the Manitoba Bisons here in Regina on Leibel Field. The preseason game offered an exciting spectacle as the Rams set the tone for the season, taking home the win at the end of the night, concluding the game with a final score of 32-27 for the Rams. Though Manitoba took an early lead in the game with a touchdown by Macho Bockru, the lead was short lived as Daniel Scraper of the Rams completed an 18-yard pass from none other than the local household name, Noah Picton. The touchdown was quickly followed up in the next four minutes by a rushing touchdown by Atlee Simon, who rushed the ball two yards past the line of scrimmage and passed the touchdown line a minute before the quarter was set to end.
The second quarter saw Kris Calcutt gain three points for the Rams with a 60-yard kick, followed up quickly by Manitoba’s second touchdown by Jesse Walker. Nearly neck and neck with a score of 18-15 for the Rams, the hometown squad ensured that they stayed ahead of the curve when Kyle Borsa’s 3-yard run put the Rams ahead of Manitoba by 10 with 37 seconds left in the second.
The third quarter was rather uneventful other than a field goal by Manitoba’s Brad Mikoluff that put Manitoba just a touchdown and a field goals worth behind the Rams.
The fourth quarter saw Matt Rivers of the Rams get a touchdown, receiving a 15-yard pass from Seb Briton, pushing the Rams up to their final score with 14 minutes and 50 seconds left in the game. Manitoba was able to blunt the feeling of defeat with some minor accomplishments throughout the remainder of the 4th quarter as Matt Riley of the Bisons made a 52-yard field goal, followed by O’Connor’s 8-yard run resulting in a touchdown.
The beginning of a season comes with highs as well as lows. The next game played on August 31 against the Dinos began the real season for the Rams with the first regular season game played on the usual home turf of Mosaic Stadium.
The Dinos took an early lead of 21 points in the first quarter with touchdowns by Dinos’ Josiah Joseph with a 2-yard run, Jeshrun Antwi with a 1-yard run, (these plays by the Dinos running backs often characterized by jumping over the pile that formed so close to the touchdown line as if it was a trademark of the visiting Albertan team), and finally, with three minutes remaining ,a Dinos touchdown on the part of Dallas Boath with a 7-yard reception fromDino QB Adam Sinagra. Though that was not all for the first as the Rams began to show their mettle on the field. The Rams made a redeeming play just as they seemed to be drowning in the Dinos’ relentless touchdown onslaught. Atlee Simon ran the ball in what seemed like a miracle play, running the ball 75 yards down the field passed the touchdown line, beginning the Rams own efforts in the first game of the season.
The second quarter belonged to the Rams. Ryan Schienbein received a 5-yard pass from Noah Picton, pushing the Rams score to 14. Aldo Galvin’s 26-yard field goal pushed the Rams score up another 3 points, and Kyle Borsa’s 31-yard run resulting in yet another touchdown continued the climb. Regina was able to get a 17-yard safety against Calgary with 56 seconds remaining, followed exactly 56 seconds later in the last play of the half with yet another 26-yard field goal by Aldo Galvin’s golden foot.
Halftime left the most favourable score Rams fans would see for the remainder of the game with a score of 29-23 for the Rams as the proverbial turning of the tides began to peter out. The home team was not able to replicate the second quarter when it came to the third or even the fourth quarter.
The third quarter began with a long run by Jeshrun Antwi, running the ball 62 yards down the field passed the pursuing Rams, the Dinos once again taking the lead by a single point. A 10-yard safety later, Hunter Karl of the Dinos received a 75-yard pass from Adam Sinagra as the last significant play of the third. Niko Difonte made an 18-yard field goal, pushing the Dinos up to 42 points. Aldo Galvin made two successful attempts at field goals at the 12-minute mark as well as the seven-and-a-half-minute mark. Rams fans remained hopeful as they saw the Rams only the equivalent of a touchdown behind their opponents, though that glimmer was crushed with Calgary’s final touchdown by Dallas Boath, receiving a 74-yard pass from Adam Sinagra, solidifying the game ending score of 49-35 for the Dinos.
Though despite the crushing defeat by the 2017 Hardy Cup champions, and runners up for the Mitchell bowl, the Rams’ Noah Picton was able to push his career record to 10,000 passing yards by the end of this game, the very first Canada West player to do so. Picton was able to pick up 329 passing yards throughout the game. Statistics wise, Picton moved up in the U SPORTS standings to 5th place in passing yards in his university football career with the Rams. Getting 3550 passing yards in 2016 alone, Picton has been on the road to making this record since his debut with the Regina’s own university football team.
When asked if this was expected, Rams head coach Steve Bryce said, “We definitely expected [Noah Picton] to reach this landmark early this season based upon his per-game average over the last few seasons.” Bryce added further, “Noah’s ability on the field has definitely made an impact in our playbook. Not only his ability, but his fruitful contributions and on-field insight have made for a more well rounded attack.”
The Rams are set to play the U of A Golden Bears Friday, Sept. 7 on the Golden Bears home field in Edmonton.