CANMORE – It's back to the drawing board for the Canmore Wolverines following their first loss of the season.
The hometown football club (1-1) lost 37-10 against Big Sky rivals, the Drumheller Titans, at Millennium Field last Saturday (Sept. 25) in a showdown where crucial points were left out on the field.
"There was clearly a lot for us to clean up," said Wolverines head coach Spencer Rose. "The message at the end of the game is we're very young. That year off football, we have a lot of guys new to football. So the message is to just come out focused at every practice and learn and we're going to be in the film and we're going to see and identify everything we need to do."
Running back Kai Perron scored the Wolverines' lone touchdown in the second quarter and Quinn Webster kicked a field goal in the third.
But despite an eyesore on the scoreboard, the final score didn't reflect on the game's competitiveness.
The first half was owned by the Titans, which took a commanding 24-0 lead in the second quarter, but the green Wolverines squad switch turned on and Perron ran in a late second quarter touchdown to swing momentum and inject life into the team for the final 24 minutes.
Down 24-7, the Titans were reeling back on their heels from the hometown squad's pressure, which looked like a much more confident and assertive team than in the first half.
Wolverines' Evren Odyakmaz's efforts were highly praised by Rose after the teen recovered two fumbles – once ripping the ball out of an opposing Titans' hands – for major yardage. Odyakmaz was awarded the game ball afterward.
Canmore's attempt to comeback and turn things around in dramatic fashion stalled, though, as the team couldn't punch-in two touchdowns on separate drives inside 10 yards of the end zone. The Wolverines settled for three points out of a possible 16 with two-point conversions in critical moments of the game.
As the Titans worked down the clock in their favour, the Badland boys scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes after the game became out of reach for the Wolverines.
"That one I would say is fully my responsibility ... I'm still adjusting to the (offensive coordinator) role," said Rose, who's in his second year of calling the shots as head coach after serving as defensive coach beforehand. "Red zone offence is still clearly a sore spot so I've got work to do in playbook design and principle design in the red zone, so that we can clean that up."
Rose added the loss to the "big" and "physical" Titans was a large test for the young team, which on top of things, will add discipline to its practices starting this week.
In the fourth quarter, a Titans' coach and Wolverines' player were ejected from the game in separate incidents.
Ken Fournier was escorted off the field by refs after arguing a call and Wolverines' Hugo Notman was thrown out for unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct after kicking a Titans player, according to the referees.
On Wednesday (Sept. 29), Notman's ejection was rescinded by the league after the refs, Drumheller and Canmore determined the actions didn't warrant the penalty given on game day.