Cobras advance to provincial finals

By Tim Bryson Coach of the WCCHS Cobras

The Willow Creek Composite High School Cobras football team advanced to their fourth provincial final in six years with a 48-7 win over the number two ranked and previously unbeaten Drumheller Titans last Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Snake Pit. Despite the score, this was a hard hitting and hard fought game from the first snap, as the Titans were feeling very confident in their ability to handle our speed and versatility with their own physicality. The Cobras got off to a slower start than normal, as the Titans forced a turn over on downs on the first series. The Cobra defence was up to the task of standing up to Drumheller’s double wing offence, which involves a lot of misdirection in the backfield and linemen pulling from the outside into the middle. The Titans actually drew first blood when Jackson Wright’s fumble was returned 52 yards by linebacker Conner Enns for a touchdown. The Cobras began to get their offence untracked on the next series, as Brad Van Herk’s 18-yard reception and some strong running by Wright and Tristan Martin culminated in a 33-yard touchdown run by Martin where it seemed he tucked the ball onto his back hip in an attempt not to fumble an exchange, thereby fooling the entire Titan defence. The Cobras were able to take the lead on their next drive, going 60 yards on five plays, with Wright completing passes of 25 yards to Dan Schuepbach and 17 yards to Ethan Perry, before hitting Van Herk from 16 yards out for the major. An interception by Van Herk gave the Cobras great position, but the drive stalled in Titan territory. However, a risky third down gamble by the Titans inside their own 20-yard line backfired, as the defensive line crushed the Titan offensive line. Three plays later, Van Herk raced around the edge from three yards out to stretch the lead to 21-7. At this point, the Cobras blew the game open, as Wright executed a perfect onside kick. On the very first play, he hit Van Herk from 53 yards out for a 27-7 lead. After another Titan drive stalled, the Cobras got the ball back and Wright again went “bombs away” hitting Perry from 63 yards out and a 34-7 halftime lead. The second half was all about staying focused and finishing the game. Midway through the third quarter, Jackson dumped a short pass off to Perry, who took it 41 yards to the endzone, while early in the fourth, the offence went 98 yards on six plays, with the running of Wright and two long passes to Van Herk setting up Mike Billyard’s five-yard touchdown scamper. Again, the Cobras showed great offensive versatility. With the Titans paying very close attention to Perry, the passing game opened up. Wright completed 15 of 20 passes for 344 yards and four TDs. Herk caught seven balls for 180 yards and in the process, broke the single season receiving yardage record of 997 yards that had been held since 2006 by Brandon Egger. Van Herk’s total now sits at 1,004 yards. Perry caught six passes for 134 yards, while Schuepbach caught two passes for 30 yards. In all, the offence had 480 net yards. The running game picked up 144 yards on 19 carries, but the vast majority of that was picked up Wright and Martin. The defence did a terrific job of keeping the Titans double wing run game out of second down and short yardage.

With the win, The Cobras will be playing for another provincial title this Saturday, Nov. 23 at Victoria Park in Raymond at 11 a.m against the St. Paul Lions.

If you are driving from Claresholm, I suggest that you be on the road by 9:15 to 9:30 a.m. Coach’s comments…it was another loud, proud crowd on Saturday. The support from this community has been stunning. Since it’s going to be a decent day this Saturday, let’s pack the stands in Raymond, as this amazing group of young men once again lay it all on the line. Once. And for all.