Rams take their first home victory
author: konstantin kharitonov | sports editor
Chalk one up for the green and gold / Nathan McCarville
Galvan’s last–second field goal wins the game for the Rams
Well, the Rams have had another tremendously exciting game on their very own Mosaic Field last Friday, playing against the UBC Thunderbirds, who unexpectedly gave the Rams a run for their proverbial money when they tied off the score late in the game, and seconds later coming one point ahead.
It was no game like the Rams had against the University of Alberta Golden Bears where Regina’s very own had an astounding victory over their Albertan opponents, the game resulting in a final score of 51-13 for the Rams.
As for the game played on Sept. 14 against the Thunderbirds, at first it seemed like the game would turn out just as one-sided as the game played against the Golden Bears. However, the first quarter proved to be the most fruitful for the Regina team. The Thunderbirds were the first to make it onto the scoreboard with a field goal by their kicker Greg Hutchinson from 46 yards. Just over 3 minutes later, the Rams’ Kyle Borsa was able to take advantage of the Thunderbirds’ defense and run the ball 33 yards down the field for the first touchdown of the game, accompanied by the always-welcome, successful, 1-point convert by Aldo Galvin.
Just as the first quarter was coming to a close, the Rams continued to find every possible opportunity to advance the ball down the field. The ball found its way into Bennett Stusek’s hands time and again, and with less than 30 seconds remaining on the clock, Stusek successfully caught another long spiral courtesy of Seb Britton, getting another touchdown for the Rams, pushing the score up to 14 points for the Rams with the addition of Galvan’s convert kick. The first quarter ended with a score for 14 for the Rams, and a low four points for the visiting Thunderbirds.
The Rams were the first ones to put points on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a 14-yard safety less than a minute into the second quarter, pushing the Rams score up to 16. Though having a fantastic start to the game, the Rams score froze then and there. The Thunderbirds followed up with a 44-yard field goal by Greg Hutchinson 14 minutes later as the last play of the second quarter. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter that the scoreboard changed from 16-7 for the Rams that seemed to define the game as, at least, a partial repeat of the game against the Golden Bears the week previous. Though the boxscore can’t even begin to tell the story of what happened on the field between the two near identical 44-yard field goals that Hutchinson was able to get for the Thunderbirds at the 0-second mark of the second and 6:37 mark of the fourth.
The game went back and forth so many times that it’s hard to recount exactly every event that occurred other than mentioning the countless wide receptions by the receivers on the part of Noah Picton, as well as the rival quarterback Michael O’Connor; quarterback sacks on either side; interceptions and fumbles on either side that resulted in outrageous cheers or the low drone of boos, depending on what team recovered the lost or unclaimed ball; and times where either team was within yards of the endzone, but the running backs of the Rams and Thunderbirds unable to get past the pile of football players that inevitably results from teams clashing so close to the endzone.
Half of the excitement of the game was compressed into the last two minutes of the game. With a score of 16-10 two-thirds of the way through the fourth, the imagined cushion between the scores had vanished. At 2:09, Trivel Pinto was able to finish the advance of the Thunderbirds with a game shifting touchdown for the Thunderbirds facilitated by Michael O’Connor’s 25-yard pass, followed by the easy convert kick that pushed the Thunderbirds a single point ahead of the Rams.
What happened next can only be described as a frantic dash to the endzone by the Rams, and the Thunderbirds attempts at halting their advance. The Rams had possession of the ball after the infamous climb in points by the Thunderbirds. A heart-rending interception by the Thunderbirds resulted in a loss of possession for the Rams just when they really needed it. The broadcast on the big screen was punctuated by shots of a furious Blake Nill, as he shouted instructions to his team not to lose the game now, while similar things were being said by the coaches of the Rams to the players who would showcase their skills and team cohesion in this integral part of the game. The Rams did everything they could to stop the Thunderbirds advance, and were able to force a turnover after the British Columbian team were unable to get the required amount of yards to get another first down.
With 1:06 left on the clock, the Rams chose their first-year running back Semba Mbasela to head their offensive strategy. After numerous rushing attempts advancing a few yards here and there as the clock ran down into the 30s, the Rams went for a long pass, successfully planting themselves within 40 yards of the endzone where they decided that the best course of action would be to have Aldo Galvan go for the field goal and get an additional three points for the team. The initial kick was unsuccessful, caught by a Thunderbird behind the field goal posts, who was tackled seconds later. Disheartened, for a second or two, the fans tried to come to terms with a loss so close it felt worse than losing by 14 points. It seemed like a stroke of luck when a flag was called on the play, resulting in a penalty for the Thunderbirds, allowing the Rams to advance. They attempted the kick once again, though this time, at 10 yards with 0 seconds left on the clock, successfully putting themselves 2 points ahead of the Thunderbirds.
Though the game wasn’t as tremendous of a win when compared to the game against the Golden Bears, the on field celebration of a near loss was much more euphoric than that of a completely one-sided game, and shows the real resolve that the had team in the face of diversity. I was able to talk to Kyle Borsa, who was able to get 119 yards across 19 carries in the game against the Thunderbirds, including a 33-yard run that resulted in a touchdown. He was able to share some insight into his experience in the brisk September game.
Corresponding with Kyle Borsa immediately after the on-field celebrations were finished, on the performance of that night’s game he said, “There’s definitely some stuff we got to clean up. We had four turnovers, which can’t happen. I thought we ran the ball pretty well in the first half. I think we just got to play better as a unit and [if we do that] I think we’ll be fine, we’ll be able to beat anyone.”
When asked about the how he feels about the Rams performance in general as a cohesive unit on the field, Borsa said, “I think we’re doing alright in all three spaces of the game. I mean, special teams sometimes got to [SIC] clean up, offense, defense are all doing really well.”
On himself, despite getting the first touchdown for the Rams in the game and being a key part of the Rams’ offensive strategy this game, he said, “I thought I was alright. I wasn’t happy about my fumble. I thought I put my team in a bad spot, and I wasn’t happy about that, but I thought I had to answer and I think I did that.”
When asked about how the touchdown felt, he said, “Felt pretty good. I don’t know, felt pretty alright I guess,” answering the ridiculous question with a laugh.
The Rams will be playing the Saskatchewan Huskies in an away game in Saskatoon this Friday on Sept. 21. On that, Borsa finally said, “It’s going to be fun; it’s a good rivalry game. We just got to clean up some stuff and I think we’ll come out with a win there.”