It was a great finale for the high school team Stettler Wildcats as nine of the players, the maximum a team can have, were recognized as League All-Stars on Friday, Dec. 2 at the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.
The nine players were Teron Garbutt, Carson Neitz, Steele Nichols, Will McDonald, Mitchell Gudgeon, Keegan St. Denis, Jordan Lane, Alex LeBlanc and Ty McCann.
Carson Neitz won the “Rookie of the Year” award, while Teron Garbutt was awarded “Rural Conference Outstanding Offensive Player.”
Speaking of his team’s achievements, Head Coach Norbert Baharally weighed in on the season and described how his coaching staff went about selecting the best.
“Our football coaching staff got together and nominated various players for the All-Star positions,” Baharally said. “Once we had all the nominees, we discussed each one in depth as to why they might be deserving of an All-Star selection.”
According to Baharally, each coach also had the opportunity to speak on behalf of any of the players that they themselves nominated.
“Once the discussion was over, we voted and the players with the most votes from our coaches were named to the All-Star team,” Baharally added. “The two major league awards were voted on by our team as well as the rest of the coaches from the teams in the Rural Conference. We were fortunate enough to get two major league award winners this year.”
Baharally hopes that next year with 23 of the returning players, the team will have a “stronger nucleus” to build on the success that they had this year.
“Now that these returning players have had a taste of success with our program, I am hopeful that their dedication and commitment to our program will continue, including off-season training and preparation,” Baharally added. “Also, I’m hoping that our players that are eligible to play midget football in the Spring will take advantage of this opportunity either with the Battle River Shock or the Prairie Fire Dragons.”
According to Baharally, playing these extra seasons of midget football really benefits the team when the players all get back together in the fall for the camp.
“Their growth as a football player is quite evident,” Baharally said. “I’d also like to see our players take advantage of some of the player developmental camps that are coordinated by the U of A and the U of C in the off-seasons.”
Baharally also stated that any kind of extra exposure for the Wildcats to these programs are good for them, the team and the team at the next level because they are always scouting for talent.