Lacombe Composite High School (LCHS) is quickly becoming a pipeline to the University of Alberta Golden Bears Football Team.
Over the past two years, the Rams have sent Quarterback Jon Ericson and Wide Receiver Richard Jans to Edmonton and this year Offensive Linemen Cam Wetzell will be joining his former teammates.
Wetzell said his journey to the CIS began when he played for the Prairie Fire. From there, UofA took an interest and Wetzell said he was attracted to the fact they help create better athletes and better students.
Jans said he knew that Wetzell had some skill.
”He is big, he is agile and he is fast for his frame. He has a lot of upside and I think he will be a good edition to the team,” he said.
Ericson added, “I got the Chance to play with Cam in Grade 12. He played a bit of centre and tackle when I was there and he killed it.”
Wetzell is excited to reunite with his teammates in his first year, where he expects he will probably red-shirt.
“I will likely be a red-shirt but I definitely will not settle for anything,” he said.
Wetzell said having all-star teammates like Ericson will be huge in his development. Ericson, who is currently slotted as the number two pivot for next year, is hoping to rebound after a sophomore year that saw him experience his first injury of his career.
“That was my first ever big injury so it was tough to deal with. I was back for the last two weeks of the season. During this offseason, I’m trying to grow and get working with the team to get better,” he said.
Ericson said he is hoping to push for the number one job next year.
”A lot of my position is on the mental side of things. I have been getting reps for that by watching film online. As soon as it gets nicer out, I’ll be able to get out and throw the ball with my brother,” he said.
Despite the injury, Ericson was able to mentor Jans — who red-shirted his first year and is also hoping to get starting reps in his second year.
”Richard has always been a great friend of mine. He has always been willing to put in the work and he is an excellent player. I am blessed to be able to play with a guy like that,” Ericson said.
Jans said Ericson and the rest of the Golden Bears welcomed him into a brotherhood.
“It was was red-shirt year for me. Going into that, I was hesitant, but everyone made me feel like part of the team. That really boosted my spirits,” he said.
Jans said that despite not being able to get to the gym due to COVID-19, he is working on his game and also staying connected to his teammates.
“We have been having team meetings over Zoom and we have been going over plays and film. For training, I have been running and doing homework until the gym opens back up,” he said.
Jans, Ericson and Wetzell credited the football culture at LCHS for helping them reach the CIS.
“I feel like it has a lot to do with the coaching and atmosphere that Lacombe Composite High School has,” Jans said.
Wetzell added, “I think it is the way (Coach Brian) Ross structures the team. It is about commitment, learning and really working together. He always says steel sharpens steel.”
Ericson said the LCHS football is all about hard work.
“I feel like Cam, Richard and I are talented but it is the hard work we put in. That was instilled in us by the Lacombe football program,” he said.
He added, “I am looking forward to great year. We have a great group of guys.”