Franchise Owner, Scott Smith Coaches Team Alberta Football
No matter what they try, they just can’t get any separation from Quebec.
Team Alberta has fallen to Quebec in the championship game of the prestigious Football Canada Cup for the third year in a row.
The Alberta entry of all-star Grade 10 and 11 players featured four players from Sherwood schools — Bev Facey Falcons offensive lineman Zach Creighton and defensive lineman Logan Schlamp, and Salisbury Sabres defensive lineman Tyler Beaudoin and linebacker Jakob Butler.
Also with Team Alberta was receivers coach Scott Smith, the head coach of the Sherwood Park Bantam Wolverines who was making his second appearance with a provincial team.
The Alberta squad had a pretty prolific start to the Football Canada Cup in Moncton, defeating the host New Brunswick team 79-6 after jumping out to an impressive 71-6 lead at the half.
“They are fairly new to the Canada Cup and were a very classy team,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, we were up by so much early in the game that the decision was made to run the clock in straight time for the second half to keep it from getting much worse.”
Alberta moved on to the semifinals, where they had a much tougher task, needing to come from behind in the latter stages to capture a narrow 43-36 victory over Ontario.
“That was a huge test for us,” Smith said. “This is the first year they have combined Ontario into just one team instead of two. With the size and population of that province, they had a lot of skill. We knew we were in for a battle and we got one. We were up early for a 21-7 lead, but then had a bad second quarter and trailed 22-21 at the half. We were then down by 11 points with three minutes left, but we scored, and then they fumbled and we scored again. It was one of the most exciting games that I have coached in my life.”
Smith said the amazing thing was that even though the Alberta team was down late in the game, they never seemed to feel it was possible that they would end up being ousted.
“We were coaching such motivated athletes, most of whom come from a culture of winning,” he said. “There were three minutes left and we were down, but the kids were all saying ‘We’re OK.’ Lo and behold, we were.”
Butler was named the defensive player of the game for Team Alberta.
The Wildrose boys advanced to the final for the third consecutive year against Quebec, with the same result as the two previous encounters.
Alberta led 10-0 after the first quarter, but lost the handle following the loss of starting quarterback Ben Kopczynski to a leg injury in the second frame and ended up on the losing end of a 43-12 result.
“Unfortunately, we have been the bridesmaid for the last three years, but you have to give credit to Quebec,” Smith said. “Losing our starting quarterback really hurt us and we ended up turning the ball over six times. It just snowballed. Quebec has a terrific group of athletes and you can’t give players like that so many opportunities and expect to come out on top. I thought our defence played a great game and if our offence had been a little better it could have been a much different game.”
Although Smith was focused on coaching the receivers, he couldn’t help but notice the contributions of the four Park players.
“They did very well,” he said. “Butler was an MVP in one of the games and played phenomenal. Beaudoin hurt his knee early in the final, but his name was being mentioned prior to that and I noticed some university coaches talking to him. Schlamp and Creighton both did very well. They held their own and played quite a bit. I know a lot of the university coaches were talking about the Park kids. If you can get to this level, there are lots of opportunities to move on after high school. We had 13 university coaches there to present to our kids in a group situation. These players are the cream of the crop.”
At the 2012 Football Canada Cup, Sherwood Park only landed two players on Team Alberta in Facey’s Bryson Dobush and Derek Newman.