The Cochrane High Cobras football team won their fourth straight Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA) Tier three provincial championship after a 21-14 victory over the Holy Rosary Raiders on Nov. 24 in Lacombe.
The game was a back and forth affair, with the Cobras opening up the score when running back Jackson McLean romped for a 15-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter to give Cochrane High a 7-0 lead. Holy Rosary bounced back the follow drive and converted on a one-yard rush to knot the game at 7 apiece.
To start the second quarter, quarterback Brett Conlon marched the Cobras up the field and ended off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jack Tocher to once again regain the Cobra lead. The Raiders once again replied with another one-yard plunge at the Cochrane High goal line with one-second left before half time to draw the game even at 14-14.
It was a defensive battle in the third quarter with both offences struggling to find traction, but with 8:39 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Conlon once again drove the majority of the field and fired a 37-yard strike to Tocher for both players second touchdowns of the game, and put Cochrane up in the game once more. Holy Rosary had the ball with less than a minute to go, looking to tie the game but Dawson Laye picked off the Raiders quarterback to seal the game for Cochrane High.
Conlon was fantastic all game long, rushing the ball 20 times for 125 yards, while also completing 12 of his 21 passing attempts for 180 yards and two touchdowns to Tocher, who also had himself a good game with five catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
Cobras co-head coach Rob McNab said he was very proud of his now graduating quarterback.
“He had a heck of a game at quarterback, running and throwing the ball. I told him that he’s one of the quarterback’s who led teams to provincial championships… he’s with Tae Gordon and Cody Stevens,” McNab said.
“He played really well. He had a few stumbles in the first half, but I think he was a bit nervous and uptight but in the second half he got some real key first downs. It wasn’t our intention to run him that much, but he really took the game over. The final scoring drive, it was 13 plays… that’s a lot of plays and a lot of clocked we chewed up. He hung on to the ball, settled down in the second half and did a great job.”
As the old saying goes, defence wins championships and Cochrane High got a spectacular all around performance from their defence in the three provincial contests they played in. The Cobras held Brooks to six points, Cardston to seven and Holy Rosary to fourteen, while causing many turnovers and game changing plays.
Co-head coach Bruce O’Neil said he was very pleased with how the defence elevated their game throughout the title run.
“We only allowed 27 points through three games and were constantly turning the tide with interceptions, fumbles or turnover on downs. The kids obviously performed the scheme we came up with, but the cool thing about is the coaches all had their input on how to make it the most successful. And us as coaches, we taught the players and the players worked hard to make sure we were all on the same page,” O’Neil said.
“There’s twelve jobs out on the field and if each kid is doing his job, that’s the key to our defence. That’s the secret to our success, is believing in each other, following what the coaches are teaching and working together as a team… and it showed on the field that all those things came together.”
Next year’s version of the Cobras are not only looking for a fifth straight provincial championship, but are also looking to add their name into the history books. Cochrane High has a winning streak of 37 games, two short of the record set by Raymond High School back in the early 2000’s.
Next up for the Cobras is their annual awards banquet, which barring any setbacks is scheduled for Dec. 17.