With the snap of a football, Grade 9 Mount Douglas student Gideone Kremler has made the jump from minor football player to starting quarterback for the senior AAA Rams.
Last week Gideone helped the Rams beat Mount Tahoma 46-22 in Tacoma, Wash. Perhaps easing the transition was the fact that Gideone’s big brother Justice, the Rams Grade 12 centre, just happened to be snapping him the ball.
“It was almost like we were just like playing catch,” said Justice. “It was weird, it’s the first time we’ve ever been on the same team.”
Rams co-ordinator Mark Townsend stands behind the 14-year-old QB and says he handles himself just fine against the opposing linemen, some three years older.
“Gideone made an impressive debut against Mount Tahoma which was not at all surprising to any of our coaching staff,” Townsend said. “He’s an awesome young man and mature beyond his years. Combine that with great natural athleticism and arm strength, and we are all excited to watch him perform on the field … for the next four years.”
The senior Rams are coming off a fourth straight visit to the B.C. High School Football AAA Subway Bowl, where the Delta Sun Devils ended the Rams’ three-year run as B.C. AAA champs.
For Gideone, it’s been a fast transition. Last year he was at Gordon Head middle school and played football with twin brother Zairech on the provincial club champion Victoria Renegades. Zairech is the only other Grade 9 on the Rams’ varsity roster this year, a defensive back and receiver. The two helped the peewee Victoria Outlaws to provincial championships in Grade 5 and 6.
“Last year we travelled with the senior Rams as water boys and now we are called up to play on the team,” Gideone said. “It went really fast.”
For Zairech, Mount Tahoma was also a first. He was dressed but didn’t play. Still, there was something awe-inspiring about it.
“I wasn’t used to being in that situation [on the sidelines] but it felt normal watching Gideone on the back lines,” Zairech said.
Gideone is in good hands as he has the support of key members on the team, including leading receiver Gavin Cobb, a Grade 12 who is among the Rams’ biggest university prospects this year.
“We were nervous to have a young guy come in but he exceeded expectations in [Tacoma],” Cobb said. “We also didn’t know who would be the quarterback but now we know.”
Cobb also takes reps at quarterback but generally takes the snaps to guide the Rams’ rushing game.
Putting Gideone at QB allows the Rams to line up Cobb at receiver, a dangerous option that draws attention away from the powerful Manny Lopez at running back.
If anything, losing in last year’s Subway Bowl frees the Rams from the added pressure of being the best team in B.C.
“It’s nice the spotlight has shifted off of us,” Justice said. “Other teams know we’ll be good but they aren’t expecting us to be ‘that’ good.”
On Saturday the Rams host West Kelowna’s Mount Boucherie, starting with the junior Rams at 11 a.m. and the senior teams playing at 1:30 p.m.