By Mark Townsend, Mt. Doug Rams

Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Mt. Douglas Rams Football Program will travel to Nanaimo Friday for Junior Varsity and Varsity exhibition games against the Barsby Bulldogs, officially kicking off their 2012 campaign and with a goal of repeating the great success they enjoyed in 2011, including winning the Provincial Varsity AAA title.

In 2011, the Mount Douglas Rams captured their first AAA Varsity Provincial Championship with an exciting 42 to 35 comeback victory over WJ Mouat. This was the Rams fourth Provincial Championship in the last three years, and marked the first time a High School from Vancouver Island has won a AAA Varsity Provincial Football Title.

The Junior Varsity Rams were AAA Provincial Finalists in 2011. The fact that both Rams teams made it to the AAA Title Game was a great achievement. And with four recent Provincial Football Championships, and numerous graduating players receiving football scholarships in Canada and now the United States, the future of the Mount Douglas Rams has never been brighter.

Both teams are blessed with some talented young men as we enter the 2012 season. The Junior Varsity team will be led by running backs/defensive linemen Seye Farinu and Pato Vega, receiver/defensive back Ross Faulkner and receiver/linebacker Jesse Woollard.

The Varsity team loses many starters from the 2011 squad and will be very young but again is blessed with several talented players including offensive/defensive lineman Peter Allan, receiver-running back/defensive back Marcus Davis, receiver/defensive back Brian Dowds, offensive/defensive lineman Christian Krause and running back/linebacker Mason Swift.

The Varsity Rams actually began their exhibition season last week in Junction City, Oregon and served notice that they will be a team to contend with, as they came away with a 38-6 win over Junction City High School.  

In that game, the Rams stormed out to a 31 to 0 halftime en route to the victory. Mason Swift led the offensive charge for the Rams rushing for 3 touchdowns, while Marcus Davis scored 2 TD’s, one a 41 yard strike from quarterback Ashton Mackinnon. Callum Duke was perfect 5 for 5 in extra point kicks plus nailed a 25 yard field goal. On the ground, the Rams rumbled for 263 yards including 146 yards from Mason Swift. Through the air, MacKinnon had a great day going 10 for 16 for 111 yards. Marcus Davis had 3 receptions for 58 yards, Mason Swift chipped in with 3 receptions for 20 yards and Jess Woollard hauled in 2 catches for 16 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, the stingy Rams held Junction City in check throughout the contest. Strong play by the defensive line was a key factor. James Nicholas had a monster game registering 4 tackles, 1 sack and 2 fumble recoveries. Teammates Peter Allan was the Rams leading tackler with 5, while Sasha Shurvin recorded 4 tackles and 1 sack. The defensive backfield figured prominently in the game as well with 3 interceptions, 1 each from Brian Dowds (Wolf of the Week for forcing the 1st turnover of the game), Julian Luis and Marcus Davis. Multiple tackle games were also turned in by Marcus Davis, Julian Luis and Trevor Ridley all with 3 tackles, and Noah Harris and Mason Swift with 2 tackles.

The Player of the Game deservingly went to James Nicholas for his stellar performance (4 tackles, 1 sack and 2 fumble recoveries). The Offensive Players of the Game was shared by Marcus Davis (2 TD’s)and Mason Swift (3 TD’s). Defensive Players of the Game were Peter Allan (5 tackles) and Sasha Shurvin (4 tackles, 1 sack). Callum Duke received the Special Teams Player of the Game (5 for 5 in extra points, 25 yard field goal, plus 1 touchdown saving tackle on Kickoff coverage).

The success of the Varsity squad last season and their big pre-season win, has given the Rams a first place ranking among all AAA teams in the Province, a ranking that the Rams will work hard to maintain all season.

Following their exhibition with Barsby on Friday, the Rams will next see action when they travel next Saturday, the 15th to Terry Fox, for both Junior Varsity and Varsity games.  The Rams first home action will be on Saturday September 22nd when the Juniors host Sequim in an exhibition game, and then Friday September 28th when both squads kick off the regular season with a double header at Royal Athletic Park against St. Thomas More Collegiate.