After a long and well-fought game, Stettler Cougars were crowned the 2016 league champions as they beat Lindsay Thurber 40-24 in a well-matched final on Saturday morning, Nov. 5 in Stettler.
Stettler scored on its first play of the game with Liam McQuay going 57 yards for a touchdown. Stettler’s next possession also resulted in a touchdown, finished off by Curtis Myshaniuk, giving Stettler a 16-0 lead.
Two quick scores by the opponents brought the game back to even, but soon McQuay scored on another big play of 47 yards, to give Stettler an eight-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
But, two touchdowns by Brett Mercier in the second quarter, gave Stettler a 40-16 lead at half. The teams exchanged touchdowns in the second half and Stettler came out victorious with a 48-24 victory, with Cole Nichols making all six converts in the game.
“Stettler now faces Lethbridge on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Stettler in the semi-finals of tier 3 provincials,” said Head Coach Ernie Shirreff. “This is the first time that Stettler has made provincials at the bantam level since 2010.”
According to Defensive Coach Clayton Page, even though the Cougars didn’t have the most overwhelming amount of kids on the team as some other teams, they put in the work that got them into the position they are in right now.
“Throughout this season I’ve seen them grow together as a team, all of them getting better every day,” Page said. “This upcoming game is where they will be put to the test, we need to prepare for a battle this Saturday.”
Line Coach Desmond Ansorger added that he has been following the progress of the bantams and peewees since he moved here.
“The bantams have been Central Alberta champions twice and the peewees five times,” said Ansorger. “Last year’s bantam team was very good, but we sustained too many injuries and had a heart struck loss by two. This year with hard work and dedication the bantam team is Central Alberta tier 3 champions.”
Stettler Cougars will play Lethbridge on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. in a home game.