By Jeff Labine The Stettler Independent
Stettler Wildcats head coach says the team’s small size played a big challenge this season.
The Cats took on the Sylvan Lake Lakers on Oct. 27 in the semi-final game of the regular season. After a scoreless first quarter, Lakers Kyle Zenert was the first to put some numbers on the board. Cats player Eric Williams made sure to keep things interesting by scoring the home teams first touchdown of the game late in the second.
Ultimately, the Lakers pulled ahead beating the Cats 21-14. Stettler will go on to face Frank Maddock to decide third place.
Head coach Norb Baharally said it was a disappointing end to the season.
“You never want your last game of the season to be a loss,” he said. “We played a good game. We had our chances to put more numbers on the board but we just weren’t able to. It’s tough to go into a game with only 22 or 23 players. We have done a pretty good job managing our team and our guys staying health for the most part until right about now.”
During the season, Baharally explained it was challenge for the Cats to practice properly. He said the team never once practiced 12 on 12. On average, 16 to 17 would show up for practice, making it tough to make improvements.
Despite the low turnout in numbers, Baharally believes the players who do sign for the program are dedicated and passionate about the sport. He said that helps motivate him to keep going forward.
“My guys on our team inspires me to keep coming out,” he said. “I’m not going to give up on them and we’re not going to give up on each other regardless of the numbers that we have.”
He added he hopes the numbers pick up next year and encouraged players making the jump to Grade 9 to Grade 10 to try it out.