Parker Cassidy had so much fun on the football field last Thursday, he didn’t want the game to end.
“I felt, as soon as the game ended, I wanted it to go longer, but now that I’ve been sitting down for a while, I’m starting to feel a little stiff,” the Stettler Wildcats’ veteran said with a smile shortly after their 17-0 victory over the visiting Lacombe Rams.
“For the number of guys we had going both ways, I thought our conditioning was pretty good.”
Cassidy, a Grade 12 student at William E. Hay Composite High School, was one of those versatile Wildcats going both ways. He rotated between fullback on offence and defensive end on defence.
After working as a farmhand this summer, he pitched in with able experience and leadership after fellow all-stars Morgan Loshny and Braden (Bob) Nelson suffered injuries in last week’s season-opening win at Stettler.
“We had a couple of guys get hurt, but we had a rookie step up, so it helped,” said the six-foot-one, 204-pound Cassidy. “Guys filled in and we won.”
Cassidy paid tribute to his first cousin, Grade 10 rookie Thomas Cassidy, who was pressed into duty when Nelson got hurt.
“Coming in as a rookie, Thomas played really well,” he said. “It might have been a good thing, because you never know when you’re going to have someone go down. And now that Thomas has got a few reps, he’ll be not nervous to go in, like he was today. He’ll be ready to go.”
Thomas Cassidy, a familiar face in rodeo circles, has a football background, too. He’s a graduate of the Stettler Cougars’ bantam program.
Parker Cassidy, 17, is one of the senior Wildcats who hope to finish their high school careers as provincial champions.
“We have high expectations,” he said. “We feel we can do it again this year, if we work hard like we did last year.”
Cassidy believes the Wildcats are trying to draw on their 2011 success, without allowing it to define the 2012 team.
“We tried to not focus on the win last year and stick to what we were going to do right this year,” he said Thursday. “It’s a different team, but we still felt we would win. We weren’t arrogant, but we came in confident, like you should. It was a good game.”
Another rookie who impressed Parker Cassidy in the season-opener was towering Christian Young, who was also a bantam Cougar last fall.
“He was backing me up, and he got that sack that Austin (Ericson), the Lacombe quarterback, got hurt on,” Cassidy said of Young. “Him and Bryce (Fisher) double-teamed there. He did quite well. I played with him with (the Battle River) Shock in Camrose, and I knew he was a strong D-lineman.”
Parker Cassidy and Young were among 12 of the current Wildcats who played with the Battle River Shock midget team out of Camrose last spring. Two other Wildcats — Fisher and Nelson — played midget with the Prairie Fire of Red Deer.
Although the high school football season is just underway, September also marks the start of hockey season for the likes of Parker Cassidy. His midget AA hockey tryouts with the Stettler Legion Blues begin Sunday. He managed to juggle both teams — and sports — last fall.