It was great weather for football as Stettler Bobcats played a confident game against Lacombe with some great plays, but fell to both opponents, Lacombe and Rocky Mountain House on Saturday, Oct. 22 in Red Deer.
“What a fantastic year for the Atom Bobcats’ inaugural season, 21 players aged between seven and 10, having never played a down of football were able to learn the game and play like a team by season’s end,” said Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Coach Mark Neitz. “It was exciting to watch the evolution of these players as they committed to working hard all the while having fun.”
Speaking of the season, Neitz said, “As a coaching staff we really had a lot of fun working with every individual on the team as they gained confidence in their abilities on the field.”
Neitz said the coaches were extremely proud of the players and excited to watch them as they continue their rise through the Stettler minor football program in years to come.
“The season may be over but we’re already looking forward to the next season, welcoming back returning players and introducing ourselves to a new set of rookies,” added Neitz.
Speaking of the second game against Rocky Mountain House, Neitz said, “Game 2 wasn’t quite as friendly to the Bobcats as Rocky Mountain House, a team they had previously outmatched, came out of the gates very strong finding the end zone with much proficiency.”
Neitz added that the Bobcats, not to be deterred, got stronger as the game progressed and ended on a high note with a late touchdown drive.
According to Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Coach Kevin Shuckburgh, the boys played a great game against Lacombe on both sides of the ball.
“It was a rematch with a team that had handled us easily in the beginning of the year but we stepped up to the challenge and played a good, hard-fought, disciplined game,” said Shuckburgh. “The second game against Rocky was a tough one as we came off the high of the previous game and just couldn’t get going until the end of the game.”
Looking back on the season, Shuckburgh said, “I feel as the first season of football for the Bobcats ended on Saturday that our boys and minor football are in a very good place. When asked how many kids are coming back to play every hand shot up.”
Creating a safe and positive environment of play is what the coaches had in mind for the young debutants.
“That’s your goal as a coaching staff to get them to love the game,” said Shuckburgh. “I would like to thank each and every player, parent, and coach for all the time and dedication to making this season a success. I want to reiterate the value of football to those out there wondering if it’s a good choice for their child to get involved by simply asking them to speak with any of the players, parents or coaches.”
Shuckburgh added that as the season rolled on he has seen a lot of positive changes in the attitudes and work ethic of these young men.
“We ended the season without a single concussion or long-term injury,” said Shuckburgh. “It was just 21 kids out there having fun, playing a game of football and learning a lot about life.”