The best high school football teams in Alberta were in Fort McMurray over the weekend battling for provincial supremacy.
The Alberta Bowl took place at MacDonald Island Park over the weekend with the St. Francis Browns of Calgary defeating Harry Ainley Titans of Edmonton 3-2 on Saturday – to claim the Tier I title.
Five other games took place over the course of Friday and Saturday – including the opening 6-man final which saw the J.C. Charyk Hawks of Hanna knock off the St. Joseph’s Crusaders of Brooks by a score of 38-32.
The Tier II game saw a Zone 7 team claim victory – with the Lloydminster Barons topping the Holy Trinity Academy Knights by a score of 22-7.
In the Tier III final, the Holy Rosary Raiders – who’ve been a thorn in the side of Fort McMurray’s powerhouse Father Mercredi Trappers – fell to the Cochrane Cobras by a score of 25-8.
Finally, the Tier IV game – which featured the Canmore Wolverines and St. Paul Lions – saw the Wolverines come out on top by a score of 24-10.
Chair for the Alberta Bowl Brendan Toner says he felt the tournament was an absolute success – with visitors from outside the community praising the Shell Place facility.
“Considering games featured out of town teams, the crowds were amazing, and the atmosphere was Canadian football in November at it’s finest,” Toner said in a release.
Toner feels tournaments like these will only help further put Fort McMurray football on the map.
“I think the Alberta Bowl proves Fort McMurray and the RMWB are capable and have the resources to pull off top quality provincial events. This should be able to get us in on the conversation for bigger and better football opportunities in the future.”
Head Coach of the Father Mercredi Trappers Kevin Garbuio acted as Colour Commentator over the course of the weekend – contributing his knowledge of the game to the online broadcast.
He tells Mix News it was exciting to see such an electric football atmosphere at SMS Equipment Stadium.
“It’s good to see a team (Lloydminster) from our zone win a championship. St. Paul’s from our zone as well and so is Holy Rosary. The zone that we’re in (Zone 7) is probably one of the strongest in the province and it’s good to see them have a good showing.”
Garbuio notes it was also good to see Holy Rosary – who’ve given the Trappers a tough time in recent years – go through their own struggles against Cochrane.
“It just shows that everyone has their nemesis that they go against and their mountain to climb. So, it’s nice to see that other teams can go through their struggles as well and it’s not just something we’re dealing with.”
Garbuio also points out that having Fort McMurray see this level of competition gives our players something to strive for.
He adds hosting a provincial tournament like this is a good learning experience for the local athletes.
“I see a lot of my kids from the Trappers watching the games and seeing the talent and noticing that they aren’t too far off. They get to see everyone goes through mishaps with dropped passes and whatnot and we aren’t far off. We have talented players, we have skill positions and I really think we’re closing that gap. I feel really good about the future of Fort McMurray football.”
More information on the tournament is at asaa.ca.