Manny Lopez

Rams football program runs deep

Mount Douglas Rams add to provincial football legacy by making fourth straight trip to Subway Bowl AAA championship

From the outset, the 2014 Mount Douglas Rams football team wasn’t the favourite to win Saturday’s AAA B.C. football championship Subway Bowl.

But somehow, it ended up that way.

If followers knew before the season started that the Rams would lose the 2014 Subway Bowl 55-30 to the South Delta Sun Devils, the only surprise would be that the Rams’ dynasty made its fourth straight visit.

After graduating 21 players from last year’s championship team, including the entire offensive line, two-time AAA Player of the Year Marcus Davis, quarterback Ashton MacKinnon, stand out running back Julian Luis and more, it’s safe to say the expecations were lower for the 2014 Rams, said head coach Mark Townsend in his season ending address.

“(Our) guys exceeded expectations and upon reflection, should be tremendously proud of the accomplishments this year… I certainly am,” he said.

In 11 games this year the Rams averaged 40 points for, and averaged 13 points against.

Six players were named Conference All-Stars, Gavin Cobb, Seye Farinu, Easton Garard, Oliver MacKenzie, Byron MacKinnon and Pato Vega.

The final versus South Delta was the highest scoring in history, as the offensively gifted Sun Devils rode the momentum of their semifinal win, when they knocked off the No. 1-ranked Terry Fox Ravens. It was also a monumentous turn-around for the Sun Devils, who avenged a 44-7 loss to the Rams from earlier this season.

Longtime Ravens’ coach Tom Kudoba, whose team fell to the Rams in the 2013 Subway Bowl, likened the Rams’ current state to that of the Notre Dame Jugglers powerhouse that ruled B.C. football in the 1970s and 80s.

“It was a smaller conference then but the Rams’ had the benefit of being the only elite team in town,” Kudoba said. “What (Townsend) and his staff have done for the last few years was to become the only elite team in town, noone else had the infrastructure.”

Belmont’s coming on  but from his perspective, Kudoba says Mount Doug has reached a level with Terry Fox, W.J. Mouatt (which had an off year this year) and St. Thomas More, who’re leading candidates every year.

“You want to get to a level where you can reload every year, which the Rams’ are at. It takes volunteer coaches who love of the sport with the expectation to get the kids to the highest level that they can,” Kudoba said.

Townsend ended his address saying the  2015 Rams will be the hardest working high school team in B.C., “… a football team others will not want to play.”

Quarterback Joe Clarke led the charge for the Rams and completed 23 of 40 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Seye Farinu rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown, Gavin Cobb made11 receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns, and Manny Lopez caught six more passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Linebacker Pato Vega led the defence with 11 tackles, followed by Oliver MacKenzie with seven tackles.

reporter@saanichnews.com