Canadian Intermediate-Senior Champions
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BACK ROW ( L to R): Rich Kolisnky, Mel Kotch, Bob Jones, Tom Brisson, Bill Ritchie, Len Sigurdson, Walt Van Wynsberg, Lorne Miller.
SECOND ROW (L to R): Gerry Duguid, Harry Makin, assistant trainer; Art Makin trainer; Jerry Lavitt, equipment; John Thorney, Bill Barrett, Jim Thorney, Al McBride, Bill Senyk, Bob Bouchard, Ray Charambura, Nick Dick Herbertson, Ron Stephenson.
FRONT ROW (L to R): Al Passman, Mort Corrin, Bill Yee, Norm Lampe, Dede Brown, Joe Sawchuk, Art Brockhill, Lew Miles, coach; Ken Freeman, Bill Thomas, Ron Cooke, mascot, Pete Sawchuk, assistant coach, Harry Sinder; manager, Harold Neufeld. In front: KC mascot.
The Winnipeg Rams participated in a four team league during the 1950ís in Manitoba. The teams were the Norwood St. Boniface Legionaires, St. Vital Bulldogs and the CUV Vets.
Intermediate football at that time was a step below the Canadian Football League (CFL). It was made up of players who were past their junior football eligibility, finished with University football or who had been cut by the Bombers and wanted more experience with the hopes of trying again to play professional football.
All of the players were amateurs and played for the love of the game and a chance to move up to the CFL. The league was highly regarded and offered a top grade brand of football.
The 1954 Winnipeg Rams are considered one of the finest Intermediate teams to represent Manitoba in National competition. Players like Cec Luining, Gerry Duguid, Ray Charambura, Harold Neufeld, Allan Passman, Len Sigurdson, Nick Miller and Dick Herbertson graduated to the CFL from the Rams.
The Rams reached the Canadian final by besting the Norwood St. Boniface Legionaires to win the Manitoba Championship 14-7 and then the Fort William Redskins 17-13 to win the Western Canadian Championship.
The Rams won the Canadian Championship in 1954 by nipping the stubborn Peterborough Orfuns 16-12 in as ruggedly a contested final as one could wish to see at the new Winnipeg Stadium in front of 6000 fans. It was the first National Championship to be played at the Stadium.
The eventual winner was in doubt until the final minute of play. In the dying minutes of the game Peterborough rolled down the field to almost pull the game out of the fire. An intercepted pass by Ram defender Jerry Duguid on his own 15 yard line with 1:41 remaining in regulation time stifled the last ditch drive to preserve the win for the Western Champs.
It was just that close.
Rams marched 56 yards to lead 6-0 at the first change over. It was 6-0 at the half. In the third quarter the Rams moved ahead 11-0 but the Orfuns came to life and scored to make it 11-6 before the final quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter Mort Corrin found himself trapped behind the line and in desperation pushed a basketball type pass out to Hal Neufeld. It paid off, Neufeld carried the ball to the Orfuns 19 before being pushed out of bounds. Hal exploded to the 10 and Bill Yee for the Rams picked up the first down to the 8. Corrin drove through for the touchdown on the next play making the score 16-6.
From the ensuing kick-of the Orfuns lead by hard running of Army Armstrong, Rod Alexander and Bill Huntley moved the ball down field for the final score, making it 16-12.
The Rams were led by quarterback, Dede Brown and league scoring champ, running back Mort Corrin, who scored touchdowns in each of the three play-off games. In addition the Rams got outstanding play from Hal Neufeld, Billy Senyk and Bill Yee. On the defensive side of the ball outstanding performances were turned in by Nick Miller, Jerry Duguid, and Peter Sawchuk.
The league was highly rated and generated a lot of interest from fans and the CFL. The Winnipeg Rams distinguished themselves as a team and brought recognition and prestige to themselves and the Province of Manitoba.
A number of the original team members are still living in Winnipeg and proud to be Winnipeggers.
Page Created: Monday, October 25, 2004