Mount Douglas Rams quarter Ashton MacKinnon is slowed by a Terry Fox Ravens tackler during the 2013 AAA Subway Bowl.

Mount Douglas Rams quarter Ashton MacKinnon is slowed by a Terry Fox Ravens tackler during the 2013 AAA Subway Bowl.

Rams football three-peat to leave lasting legacy

Mount Douglas Rams program leaving a lasting impression in B.C., coach hopes to raise the bar for football on the Island

The three-peat is complete. The Mount Douglas Rams have stamped their names into the history books as B.C. champions for three straight years with the 32-27 win over the Terry Fox Ravens at B.C. Place on Saturday.

After a dominating season in which the Rams destroyed the Western Conference, outscoring their opponents 315 to 27, the Rams eked out a one-score win for the second straight game. The Rams outdueled Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 39-33 in the semifinal.

Game story here:

Both opponents were out to lay a lickin’ on the Rams and it showed as many of the Rams struggled to get to back on their feet in the Subway Bowl.

Rams running back and linebacker Julian Luis was one of those players.

“I took a beating out there and Lord Tweedsmuir was also a great fight. But Terry Fox was the most physical team, especially (linebacker) Isaiah Stevens. He hits like a truck and rocked me a couple of times.”

If there’s a chink in the Rams’ armour, the fact the team is only 25 players strong might be it. Luis is one of many players who are on the field for nearly the whole game.

No way was Terry Fox going to keep Luis down. The graduating senior was nursing an ankle injury he suffered in the final regular season game against the Belmont Bulldogs in Langford. He was able to sit out the quarterfinal win over the St. Thomas More Knights but his defensive specialty was called on against the Panthers and Ravens.

“It’s definitely a lot of work. You need to be physically prepared for it and coming off an ankle injury was tough. I’m just really glad I got to stay in there and enjoy the championship.”

It’s Luis’ third title with the Rams as he was on the senior team last year and won the junior varsity championship as a Grade 9 student. He’s also part of the end of an era of  a group of Oak Bay Vikings  players on the Rams. Luis, Alec Wong and Peter Elwood originally started playing football together for the pre-atom Oak Bay Vikings as eight and nine year olds. There were more who most graduated from the Rams last year.

“Mount Doug coach Dave Wong (Alec’s dad) was the Vikings head coach for all those years. I’m going to remember those guys, all these guys for the rest of my life,” Luis said.

Banged up and injured, Luis returned time and again and, in the final minute, was relied on to carry the ball as the Rams killed the clock on Saturday.

Rams program director Mark Townsend said there was never any talk about the word three-peat.

“We just tried to focus on the next game and getting better.”

With the victory Saturday night, Townsend can now look back and know it is a great accomplishment by the program.

“We are very proud of our success. Everyone involved in the Mount Douglas football program, players, coaches, support staff and school admin have put a ton of time and effort to get to this point and it truly is satisfying. Time to start preparing for the 2014 season.”

Townsend used to coach community football including the Victoria Renegades with Luis and many other Rams. He is now dedicated to the Rams and has also been on B.C.’s U18 since 2010.

Luis is eyeing a spot in the CIS, as is Ashton

MacKinnon, the 6-foot-7 quarterback, and 250-pound linemen Christan Krause and Zach Wilkinson, among others.

(Inset photo: Offensive lineman Foster McGee, left, hugs QB MacKinnon)

Wilkinson was named the outstanding lineman of the Subway Bowl and Marcus Davis was named Subway Bowl MVP, won by Rams running back Mason Swift the past two years.

It’s easy to point to B.C. Player of the Year, Davis, as the reason the Rams are so good but it goes both ways, says Townsend.

“We all know Davis is an exceptional talent but we are a complete team and Marcus has been supported on the offensive side of the ball by a stellar offensive line,” Townsend said.

“Davis would be the first to give credit to the big fellas up front as you can be the best back in the world but you need the blockers up front to open up those running lanes, even just for a second, which is sometimes all Davis needs.”

Because Davis is so humble and grounded, as well as being so talented, he inspires his teammates to raise their game and play their very best, Townsend added.

The popularity of football in Greater Victoria led to the spawning of a third high school program this year, the Spectrum Thunder. The Rams expect to continue their run of excellence.

“The success of football at Mount Douglas and other programs like (AA BC champion) John Barsby in Nanaimo, raises the sport’s profile on the Island and will inspire other athletes to play football and other (high school) programs to raise their own bar,” Townsend said.

sports@vicnews.com

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