It’s a bit of a stretch to compare a football team with a wedding party, but for the second consecutive year the Rimbey Spartans made it all the way to the altar only to come away as bridesmaids following a 20 – 8 loss to the Breton Cougars in the championship final of the Western Alberta Six-Man Football League.
But it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of effort.
“Our defense played extremely well and created four turnovers but our offense was dealing with some injuries and we were only able to run a small percentage of our playbook,” said Head Coach Bill Bramfield. “Our starting quarterback Logan Grundy had a separated shoulder and our backup Sander Lekas didn’t dress because he had a severely sprained finger so we had five different guys playing quarterback at different times during the game because Logan couldn’t throw and was limited on blocking.”
The Cougars scored with just 12 seconds left in the first half to break open a close game and the undermanned Spartans were unable to respond making it back-to-back championships for the Cougars.
Bramfield said one of the turning points in the game came after some strong play by the Spartan’s defense resulted in three consecutive Breton drives being stopped inside their own 30-yard line, however they managed to convert a broken play into a 75 yard touchdown to basically seal the deal.
Despite the loss, Bramfield said the team took the defeat like well-seasoned professionals, a point driven home by the fact that for many of the players, their high school sports career is over.
“The players and coaches were disappointed as many have played their last game of high school football but took the loss with dignity,” he said. “Of course there are no guarantees, but they would have liked to play the game with a healthy Logan Grundy who has been the team leader over the past two years. But the boys should be extremely proud of their season. We all want to win but even in defeat the team should character and good sportsmanship.”
While acknowledging his own team, Bramfield also pointed to the efforts put forth by Breton and was quick to give credit where credit is due.
“Breton is extremely well-coached and were able to make two major adjustments. On defense, they realized that for some reason we were not throwing the ball and keyed on our running game,” he said. “On offense, they went away from their bread and butter plays like their sweep and power plays because they were not getting positive yardage.”
With the loss behind him, Bramfield took a moment to talk about next season when he expects some of his younger players to step up into more prominent roles on the team.
“We will be young next year as we are graduating nine seniors and will have only four returning senior for next year,” he said. “We will not really be rebuilding but some of our younger players will be one year older, stronger and more experienced. The guys that are graduating from the program this year were, at one time, smaller and less experienced so our young guys will get their chance next season.”