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Rams set sights on another B.C. crown

Running back Mason Swift returns to lead top-ranked Mount Douglas
and Marcus Davis lead top-ranked Rams offence this season.

His brother Terrell Davis is gone now, red-shirting at Arizona State University, but Marcus Davis is more than comfortable having Mason Swift around as his mentor.

Back for their Grade 11 and 12 years respectively, Marcus Davis and Swift will form a lethal duo for the Mount Douglas Rams, who will begin defence of their provincial triple-A high school football championship at home in just over three weeks time.

"It's a little different without him [Terrell] being here, being a mentor for me," admitted Davis. "I have to be a little more independent and I still look up to Mason. He's a good role model for me, since my brother left, and we should do well without him.

"I think we can pick up right where we left off from last season and show B.C. what we can do," said Davis, the five-foot-nine, 175-pound running back/receiver who also doubles as a defensive back on the corner.

The 16-year-old wants nothing more than an opportunity to follow in his older brother's cleats, getting his own look from NCAA Division 1 schools.

Marcus didn't get an opportunity to play in last year's varsity title game, having injured an ankle in the junior final.

He'll play a huge role this season, along with Swift, 17, a much more physical back who stands in at six-feet and has trimmed down to 200 pounds from the 230 he was packing in last year's championship game.

"It's going to be a different style of play," Swift said of playing without Terrell. "But I think we're going to make due. We've got a huge offensive line and I'm sure they're going to be able to make the holes I need to run through.

"With Terrell gone, it puts a bit more of a load on my shoulders. We shared that load last year, but I think it'll be good."

Throw six-foot-six, 200-pound quarterback Ashton MacKinnon and that offensive line - that averages roughly six-footfive and 250 pounds - and you've got the makings of a powerful looking offence.

"It's a good thing he is that tall so that he can see over our offensive line," Swift said jokingly of MacKinnon.

It is a youthful varsity team, however, as head coach Mark Townsend has just nine returners back from the championship squad. It is ranked No. 1 going into the season, however.

"I told the kids, let's just ignore the rankings," said Townsend. "We have to play the games and so the rankings don't mean anything.

"It's what the result is on that Friday night. We realize in the last 10 years there has not been a repeat provincial winner in triple-A varsity football. It just shows the parity."

With Swift and Davis in the backfield, they could be difference makers.

"Mason is a tremendous competitor and we know that when he runs the football, he's going to run with reckless abandon. He's also a tremendous linebacker," said Townsend. "And Marcus, he's our hybrid. We'll line him up in the backfield, but also as a receiver. We're going to try and get him the ball as much as we can, he's that dynamic a player."

Swift, 17, has had some interest from Brigham Young University and New Mexico out of the NCAA, as well as Simon Fraser, UBC, St. Mary's and Queen's north of the 49th parallel.

Davis received a letter of interest last season from Penn State, but still has two years of high school football ahead of him, as does MacKinnon.

The Rams are coming off a 38-6 exhibition win in Oregon last week at Junction City High School. Both the varsity and junior team will head to Nanaimo to face John Barsby this weekend in pre-season play.

The regular season begins Sept. 28 for both as St. Thomas More visits at Royal Athletic Park with 2: 30 and 5 p.m. kickoffs.

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