That Stettler’s Wildcats ended their football season with a less than stellar performance, losing the championship fixture 41-0 was disappointing in itself, but not as much as the uncalled for drama during the last minutes of the game, which might have long term implications for the program itself.
After an assistant Wildcat coach and two Wildcats were ejected from the field in the last three minutes of the game versus Sylvan Lake for objectionable conduct on Saturday, Nov.7, head coach Norbert Baharally said he would reconsider his position at the helm of the team he has led for many years.
The game itself started in sunny and unseasonably warm weather, perfect for great football. Lakers, playing on their own turf, got on the board in the seventh minute with their first touchdown and a successful convert, and before Wildcats defence could recover from the shock, scored another making it 14-0. In the last minute of the first quarter, they scored a third touchdown but their convert attempt was blocked by Wildcats defence.
In the second, Wildcats initially appeared to be holding back the Lakers offence, but the hosts scored once again just before the half time, which ended 27-0 for the local side.
Wildcats appeared helpless in establishing themselves on the field. Although they did have a few first downs and interceptions, they were not enough the stop the waves of Lakers attacks. The hosts scored twice more, once in the third and once in the fourth quarter, and with both converts made good, the score stood at 41-0 three minutes from the end of regulation.
It was at that moment that assistant coach Brian Matchett entered into an argument with the referees protesting a call and was sent off by the referees and left the field with a few gestures of protest. Immediately after that, two Wildcat players were ejected for vulgar language on the field.
When the game ended, there was not much jubilation among the team members for having won the silver medal.
Baharally said Wildcats were not prepared for that game. “But we should not take anything away from Sylvan. They have a good team, they have a lot of players in all positions, they are players with good skills.”
In reference to the unfortunate incident, Baharally said it would have a negative impact. “This will reflect on me as the head coach, it will reflect on our football program, on our school, on our community.”
“I will have to sit back and think about my commitment to the team,” Baharally continued. “In my position, school is my priority and with that priority, I cannot be on the field at every practice, I cannot leave the school building to be out every practice day. And when I cannot be on the field everyday, some unwanted cultures may be developing.”
He said he was still passionate about football but was not sure about the level of his commitment.