Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
September 9, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – They say that good things come in small packages and if that phrase is to hold true as it pertains to the Mount Douglas Rams and their BC High School Varsity AAA Football program, then opposing teams better watch out.
Quarterbacks Gideone Kremler (right) and Gavin Cobb (left) are ready to lead the Mount Douglas Rams into the 2015 BC High School Varsity AAA football season (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).
Lacking the size they had two years ago, when for example, their offensive line averaged 6’5″ and 265 pounds, the Rams have transformed themselves into a faster, more athletic and harder working team, one that in 2014, in what many thought would be a rebuilding year, found their way into a record, fourth straight Subway Bowl championship appearance, a game that they ultimately lost for the first time in those four years.
The Rams are well poised to return to the Subway Bowl again this season to avenge that loss and to capture their fourth title in the last five years. They got off to a good start in that regard last Friday, as they travelled south of the border to Tacoma, Washington and opened their 2015 season with a convincing 46-22 victory over the Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds.
Rams Head Coach Mark Townsend and his coaching staff are well prepared to lead their 2015 squad to a record fifth straight Subway Bowl appearance (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).
Leading the way in that game was Grade 9 quarterback prodigy Gideone Kremler, who completed 14 of 20 passed for 222 yards in a successful freshman debut. Kremler, who, along with his twin brother Zairech, joins older bother Justice on the team, will play a key role for the Rams this season, taking most of the reps at the quarterback position, along with Senior Gavin Cobb.
Rams Head Coach Mark Townsend is not too concerned about a Grade 9 rookie leading the Varsity squad and speaks highly of the younger Kremler. “The kid is the real deal for sure. He is quick and smart and works hard to learn the game and his position quickly. We we were really pleased to see how well he played in our game last week in Tacoma.”
“We are also going to really manage Gideone’s reps as well so that we don’t put too much pressure on him,” added Townsend. “Both Gavin Cobb and Manny Lopez will also take reps at the quarterback position on a regular basis during a game.”
Rams players go through a series of tackling drills during Tuesday’s Media Day and practice (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).
Kremler himself is also unphased by the pressure that starting role will put on him. “I am really excited about the opportunity for sure, especially that I get to play on a team with my other brothers for the first time. Also, it’s pretty easy to jump into such a role when I have the protection afforded to me my such an amazing offensive line. I was pretty nervous heading into the opening game last week, but I had a good run early on and that got most of the jitters out and I just kept it going from there. “
Kremler’s partner in the backfield, Cobb, is also looking forward to his role this season as both quarterback and in his primary role as a receiver and kick returner. He had a good start against Mt. Tahoma last week catching nine passes for 157 yards and rushing for another 89, while completing two passes for 76 yards, but overall is just happy to be on the field and contributing wherever the team needs him. “I am playing football, so I am comfortable with that. I can do whatever the coach needs me to do. I just play the game and do what I need to do to get the job done.”
Cobb is also motivated, as are others on the team, to get back to the Subway Bowl and avenge last year’s defeat. “Last year we wanted to keep the tradition of winning going with a fourth straight title and by losing, we felt we let a lot of people down. So yes, there is a lot of motivation there to win another one.”
Players go through a series of speed and blocking drills under the watchful eyes of coaches at Tuesday’s practice (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).
Coach Townsend is also aware of that motivation, but he does not want the players to be focused on that alone. “I firmly believe that motivation is there, since losing is part of the process of improving. I think the kids really want that sense of winning a championship. Some have had it in the past and they all want to have it again.”
“However, I don’t want the kids to feel the pressure of having to go back to the final for the fourth time, or the fifth time,” added Townsend. “Our main goal is to compete and improve year-after-year and game-after-game and to see how we stack up against the traditional mainland powerhouses. If we continue to work hard, then I’d love to see how we end up at the end of the year…and right now I think we will be competitive again this year.”
The Rams will put their speed and athleticism on display locally this Saturday Sep. 12 as they continue their exhibition season by hosting Mount Boucherie at the Mount Douglas Field. The Junior Varsity game kicks off at 12 Noon, while the Varsity game goes at 2:30 pm.
The Rams also host Lord Tweedsmuir for exhibition games on Saturday Sep. 19 with the Junior Varsity game at 1:30 pm and the Varsity game at 3:30 pm.
The school is bringing in extra bleachers for these games, so there will be plenty of seating available for those that want to come watch both teams in action.
Following exhibition games in Nanaimo against John Barsby on Sep. 25 and against Spectrum on Oct. 2, the Rams host their regular season opener against Notre Dame on Friday Oct. 9, either at RAP or the Mount Doug Field.
The Rams full schedule can be found below:
Sat Sep 12 – JV – Mount Boucherie at Mount Douglas @ 12:00 pm at Mount Douglas – exhibition
Sat Sep 12 – Varsity – Mount Boucherie at Mount Douglas @ 2:30 pm at Mount Douglas – exhibition
Sat Sep 19 – JV – Lord Tweedsmuir at Mount Douglas @ 1:00 pm at Mount Douglas – exhibition
Sat Sep 19 – Varsity – Lord Tweedsmuir at Mount Douglas @ 3:30 pm at Mount Douglas – exhibition
Fri Sep 25 – JV – Mount Douglas at John Barsby @ 4:00 pm at Nanaimo – exhibition
Fri Sep 25 – Varsity – Mount Douglas at John Barsby @ 7:00 pm at Nanaimo – exhibition
Thu Oct 1 – JV – Mount Douglas at NDSS @ 3:15 at Nanaimo – exhibition
Fri Oct 2 – Varsity – Mount Douglas at Spectrum @ 5:00 at Royal Athletic Park or Spectrum – exhibition
Fri Oct 9 – JV – Notre Dame at Mount Douglas @ 12:30 pm at Royal Athletic Park or Mount Douglas – Homecoming Day
Fri Oct 9 – Varsity – Notre Dame at Mount Douglas @ 3:00 pm at Royal Athletic Park or Mount Douglas – Homecoming Day
JV – BYE
Sat Oct 17 – Varsity – Mount Douglas at South Delta @ 1:30 pm at South Delta
Fri Oct 23 – JV – New West at Mount Douglas @ 12:30 pm at Royal Athletic Park or Mount Douglas
Fri Oct 23 – Varsity – New West at Mount Douglas @ 3:00 pm at Royal Athletic Park or Mount Douglas – Senior Day
Fri Oct 30 – JV – Mount Douglas at Vancouver College @ 2:30 pm at Vancouver College
Sat Oct 31 – Varsity – Mount Douglas at Vancouver College @ 1:30 pm at Vancouver College
Fri Nov 6 – JV – Mount Douglas at Belmont @ 1:00 pm (or 12:30) at Westhills Stadium
Fri Nov 6 – Varsity – Mount Douglas at Belmont @ 5:00 pm (or 3:30) at Westhills Stadium
Nov 12 to 14 – Wild Card
Nov 19 to 21 – Quarter-Finals
Nov 26 to 28 – Semi-Finals
Dec 5 – Subway Bowl