Injuries a factor in Spartans finals loss

The Rimbey Spartans lost only one football game this season — 42-36 against the Millwoods Christian Royals

The Rimbey Spartans lost only one football game this season — 42-36 against the Millwoods Christian Royals in the provincial championship game.

The team played an incredibly strong season against other competitive teams.

“I think we had a really good season. We were eight and zero,” said Spartans linebacker Tyler Wurmlinger.

Wurmlinger attributes part of the team’s success to head coach Bill Bramfield. “He’s very supportive; he always gives us pep talks.”

Bramfield helped the boys with their plays and always showed them where they needed to be. According to Wurmlinger, Bramfield spent hours each week reviewing game videos so he’d be able to help the boys improve their game.

Teammate Garry Fehr agreed success started with the coaches’ effort. “All four of our coaches were always there for us; they taught us everything we know.”

And there may have been a lot to teach: this year the Spartans had 15 players who hadn’t played football before.

The last couple of games before the championships went well for the Spartans. They defeated the Hannah Hawks 48-6 on their home turf.

However, despite the huge lead they came off with the team and Bramfield took to the Nov. 20 semifinal game in Lacombe ready to play hard to earn another win.

“We played a very strong game,” said Wurmlinger. Rimbey defeated Drayton Valley’s Frank Maddock Warriors 34-22.

“That was a really awesome game for us,” added Fehr. “Everybody played strong and hard; it was pretty close.”

During the semifinals the Spartans took the field and control of the game despite freezing weather.

While their journey to the 6-man Alberta Bowl Provincial Final, held in Edmonton Nov. 23, ended favorably, that final game did not.

At one point the Spartans where dominating with a 22-6 lead. However after two Spartans’ linebackers were injured, one of them being Wurmlinger, who injured his knee, the game started to go downhill. The final score was 42-36.

“I thought it went very well,” said Wurmlinger. “They (the Millwoods Christian Royals) just got the last points on us.”

Wurmlinger recalls there were a couple of interceptions by the Royals and then two Spartans players suffered injuries. “That’s pretty much what got us.”

Fehr added that because of the injuries, substitutions were brought in who normally wouldn’t play at those positions.

Despite the injuries Wurmlinger feels the Spartans’ offense was strong during the game, but so was the Royals’ defence. “Our defence was good, until the injuries.”

During the first half of the game Rimbey’s defence was able to hold their opponents back, but during the second half the Royals’ offence stepped up.

“Defence was good” agreed Fehr. Like his teammate, Fehr thought the game turned around when the injuries occurred.

However, despite the challenges they now faced on the field the Spartans’ continued to play with the same spirit they had all season. “We kept on going and fought until the end,” said Wurmlinger.

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