The weekend weather was perfect for football as Stettler community got to watch their home teams in action as the Wildcats, Panthers and the first time players of Atom Bobcats took to the field on Saturday, June 4.
With most of the veteran players off the Wildcat roster, one might be skeptical of the new team made up of a large number of rookies, but those doubts were put to rest as a charged Wildcat team took on Camrose, scoring five touchdowns and beating them 5-1.
They lost to Lacombe 4-1, but scored a convincing win against Wetaskiwin, scoring six touchdowns again winning 6-0, and finally tying with Drumheller 1-1.
“We are overall very happy with their performance and this new team has a lot of talent and speed,” said assistant coach and offence coordinator Guy Neitz. “We have 20 Grade 9 kids of the 34 kids on the roster, the biggest so far since the 25 years I have been coaching.”
Neitz said he was excited to see how the Wildcat offence performs this season, and was confident of their capability.
“We had two quarterbacks, Jordan Lane who is a veteran but the young quarterback Carson Neitz was quite impressive on the field as well,” added Neitz.
According to head coach Norbert Baharally, the boys had a great day of football and all of the guys got to play a lot.
“Our rookie players were exposed to the game for the first time and our bantam players that are moving up were able to experience the tempo and speed of high school football for the first time,” said Baharally. “All in all, I was pleased with our performance during the day and I am looking forward to the start of our fall campaign, we have some really great players on our team and I anticipate that we will do well this upcoming season if we stay healthy and committed.”
The Peewee Panthers played Drumheller and with a new team this year, head coach Zeke Ryan hopes to have a great year.
“It was fantastic and the boys were amazing, we do have some real strong players,” said Ryan. “However, I have a lot of new players this year, which is an experience they’ve never encountered, so in the second game they really woke up and started to understand the game.”
Ryan added that he was very proud of each and every player and the way they put their best efforts into the game.
“My coaches this year also deserve a big applause as they have been working so hard to train the boys,” said Ryan.
Stettler’s new team Atom Bobcats with players aged between seven and nine years took to the field as well and played a spirited game against Rocky Mountain House.
“It was an exciting weekend for the upstart Atom Bobcats as the fourteen players had an impressive showing against the Rocky Mountain House Atom team in jamboree style play,” said head coach Mark Neitz. “The game is still new to the boys but all the players had fun and enjoyed playing and learning the game.”
Neitz said that the team takes a two-month hiatus for summer and will start up again in the middle of August, so if anyone is interested in participating, they can still register up until the end of August.
Stettler Wildcats will play an exhibition game against St. Albert Skyhawks on Friday, Sept. 2 and will begin their regular season on Friday, Sept. 9.