Rams back on top

Mount Douglas wins fourth B.C. high school football title in five years

Mount Douglas Rams receiver Gavin Cobb steps around two Vancouver College Fighting Irish tacklers during the AAA Subway Bowl final. Cobb was named the Subway Bowl MVP for his play on both sides of the ball.

Gavin Cobb has etched his name into the fast growing history of the Mount Douglas Rams football program as the 2015 AAA Player of the Year and, as of Saturday, the Subway Bowl MVP.

Cobb earned the latest award as the Rams defeated the Vancouver College Fighting Irish 34-17 in the provincial AAA High School Football championship Subway Bowl at BC Place.

It is the Rams’ fourth AAA championship in five straight appearances, a year when the Rams were ruled out as a non-playoff team, Cobb said.

“It’s amazing, for us seniors in our last year playing together to finish it with [the championship] is crazy.”

Having lost a number of great players, Cobb heard enough from doubters who said the Rams’ dynasty was fading after three straight AAA championships from 2011 to 2013.

“Our team pulled it together in the offseason and decided we were going to be great,” Cobb said.

The Grade 12 star was honoured as the MVP of the final despite only making four receptions for 72 yards on offence. His presence on offence is dangerous enough that the Rams were able to take advantage in other areas. He was also stifling on defence, matching up against Vancouver College’s receivers, said head coach Mark Townsend.

“Cobb played his best game on the biggest stage. Just when you thought you had seen it all, [he] comes up with more incredible catches, drew a handful of pass interference calls and was a big part in shutting down the Vancouver College receivers.”

It was an all-around impressive team win as the Rams avenged their only loss of the season, a 20-0 blanking by Vancouver College on Oct. 31. Declann Michielin led the way as the game’s Most Outstanding Player, putting down the crutches he needed earlier in the week to carry the ball 24 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

Townsend said Michielin’s performance might be the toughest he’s ever coached.

In the middle of it all was another big game from underage quarterback Gideone Kremler. The Grade 9 was on double duty once again, as he had to overcome the stress and emotion of losing the Subway Bowl junior championship earlier on Saturday before lining up with the senior team, as he’s done all season. In the early game, the junior Rams fell 48-29 to the New Westminster Hyacks.

“You do get stressed out, there’s a lot of pent-up aggression and emotion, so it’s a matter of release,” Kremler said.

After the junior Subway Bowl was done Kremler had a brief rest before joining the senior squad as they prepared for Vancouver College.

“Sitting with the varsity guys as they get ready for their game puts you back in the feel for it,” Kremler said. “It’s a family, you [quickly] become part of that team [again].”

If there were any lingering effects, it didn’t show as Kremler worked with, and without, Cobb, who was often “double and triple teamed,” Kremler said.

“Gavin is a great player and great guy in general. We didn’t get him the ball as much as we’d like [in the final],” Kremler added. “If he’s not making plays, he’s setting up the other players on the team, that’s the type of athlete he is.”

With Cobb earning extra coverage, Kremler turned to his other options in the air and still managed to throw three touchdown passes while going 13 for 23 on pass attempts, totalling 200 yards.

Gevhahn McNally-Hardisty made four receptions for 72 yards, including a touchdown pass that rolled off his back and neck before falling into his arms.

Kremler opened the game’s scoring with a five-yard touchdown pass to Griffin Posynick. Aidan Kachanoski ran in the two-point conversion. Vancouver College then responded with a touchdown and a field goal to lead 9-8. It stayed that way into the second quarter when Michielin ran in six yards for a touchdown. College responded with its second touchdown but the Rams took a 21-17 lead into the half when Kremler connected with Oliver Mackenzie for a 28-yard touchdown strike, converted by Michael Olson.

At that point, the table was turned from the Rams’ fateful Oct. 31 shutout. In the second half on Saturday, it was Vancouver College who was held scoreless.

It was in the third quarter that McNally-Hardisty made his highlight catch for a touchdown. Michielin ran in his second touchdown, a two-yard dash, in the fourth quarter to make it 34-17.

Leading the defence was Grade 12 Justice Kremler, who made it back-to-back playoff games with interceptions. This time Justice ran the ball back 45 yards to Vancouver College’s five yard line. That’s in addition to Justice’s sack and the team lead in tackles with eight, a number he shared with Michielin. Kachanoski was also busy on defence with seven tackles and two sacks, and Quinn Jenish had another six tackles.

“I’ve always had faith in these guys,” said Gideon, who previously contributed to the team as a water boy with twin brother Zairech, also on the junior team. “Even though I didn’t play with these guys [we’d come to see Justice] I knew it was a matter of putting in the work.”

Last week the B.C. High School Football awards were released. Cobb joined the Rams’ Davis brothers (Marcus in 2012 and 2013, Terrell in 2011) as the team’s AAA Player of the Year award winners.

Justice Kremler earned a scholarship award for his balance of athletics and academics, while Oliver MacKenzie, Declann Michielin and lineman Trystin Waters were all named to the Provincial All-Star team. Gideone Kremler and Grade 12 lineman Aidan Kachanoski were named Western Conference All-Stars.