Sylvan Lake Bears peewee football team is heading to the B-side league final, after defeating Rocky Mountain House Rebels 14-7 in Sylvan Lake on Saturday.
Despite not starting the game in the manner they hoped, the Bears proved resilient in protecting their lead, and held on to clinch their spot in Saturday’s final.
“We started off slowly, but our defence played extremely well the whole day,” said head coach Garnet Rambaut.
With a roster of 22 players, the Bears were allowed a degree of flexibility in their team selection and playing time.
That’s a luxury they’ve been without in some games this season.
“This is the first time so far this year we’ve actually been able to take nine people off and keep them on the sidelines,” said Rambaut. “We were able to rest some players. For us, (having 22 players) is very good.”
The Bears weren’t completely unfamiliar with their opponents, having scrimmaged against the Rebels twice this season. Being aware of the Rebels’ improvement since those scrimmages, however, they didn’t take anything for granted, and knew they needed to be at the top of their game.
“We did expect a lot of the things that they did, and I think (the Rebels) gave it a really good try,” said Rambaut. “They were successful on a few plays, but for the most part, they didn’t have anything consistent, and I think that really is a testament to our defence.”
With the win behind them, the Bears are concentrating on their next challenge, against Red Deer Hornets on Saturday.
A win there would earn them a spot in Tier 4 provincials.
However, Rambaut isn’t looking that far ahead, just yet, and knows the Bears need to put in another solid performance on Saturday.
“I know (the players) want to win, and hopefully we will have that outcome on Saturday,” he said. “They’ve worked too hard to let this slip by.”
Saturday’s game against the Hornets kicks off at 12 p.m. at Great Chief Park in Red Deer.