After coming off a heartbreaking loss in the league final last year, the Lacombe Rams football team is hoping that facing some new teams this year will help get them ready to repeat last year’s run, despite losing some key offensive players who graduated out of the high school football program.
Head Coach Brian Ross says with the loss of those players, their strength this season will focus on stopping their opponents from scoring.
“Our strength is going to be our defence. We have linebackers that are fantastic, I have a safety that’s unreal, we have DP’s that can cover. We’re going to lean on our defence this year probably more than I’ve ever had to in a coaching perspective, and then we’re gonna work out the kinks with the offensive stuff.”
They'll be venturing out of their league to take on some new teams in pre-season, instead of just playing Lindsay Thurber, Hunting Hills, and Notre Dame over and over all season and play offs long.
Ross says new opponents and different playing conditions only improve the teams skills, win or lose.
“Really nobody’s is re-inventing the wheel, it’s nice to see fresh faces. It’s nice to see Medicine Hat, we went down to see them last year, they showed us a great time, they are a well prepared team. I’ve never played against Lloydminster, I’ve never played against Bonnyville, but it’ll be cool to meet these guys and see these guys… I don’t need to play Notre Dame three times, and I’m sure they don’t want to play us three times, they get nothing out of it.”
Last season the Rams but lost to the Hunting Hills Lightening 34 to 11 in the league final.
Last season's all-star quarterback Johnny Ericson, who has since graduated, recently made a splash as pivot on Team North at the Football Alberta Senior Bowl back in May, throwing for 278 yards and adding three touchdowns in the 38-23 loss to Team South.
The Rams start their pre-season this Saturday, September 1st at 2:00pm, against Medicine Hat down at M.E. Global Athletic Park.