It was a fight to the finish as Stettler Wildcats faced off against Bow Valley Bobcats in the tier IV league championship final at Hellard Field in Calgary on Saturday, Nov. 26.
Feeding off the energy from the crowd that had come to support their home team, the Wildcats played a great first half, beating the Bobcats in every aspect of the game with a lead of 7-1 at half-time.
However, they were unable to hold on to the momentum as players were injured throughout the game.
The opponents took advantage of the lapse in rhythm and tore through Wildcat defence, winning 22-13.
“It was a close game statistically with Bow Valley gaining only 20 more yards on offence than we did,” Head Coach Norbert Baharally said. “Our defence had a great first half and we outplayed them to lead 7-1 at the half. In the second half we were getting outplayed physically and pretty banged up suffering an injury in what seemed like just about every play.”
Teron Garbutt, who had suffered an ankle injury from the game in Grande Prairie said that nothing was going to hold him back from playing in the final game.
“I’m just proud of the boys for playing right until the end of the game and not giving up,” Baharally added. “What a great season, we’ve had. You never want the last game of the season to end in a loss because it usually means that you either did not get into the playoffs, lost out during the playoffs or lost a championship game. Unfortunately, for us it was the latter.”
According to Baharally, the Wildcats put up some great numbers this year and has accomplished some really outstanding things such as racking up wins compared to only three losses.
“Getting to the league championship game as well as the provincial championship … not a lot of the teams in the province are able to accomplish this,” Baharally explained. “We had some really outstanding statistics and numbers with regards to our offence and defence this year.”
The Wildcats offence averaged almost 40 points per game in the regular season and only gave up an average of six points per game.
The Wildcat running back, Teron Garbutt, rushed for close to 1,500 yards during the regular season, with a fantastic kicker, Steele Nichols, who converted on all of his 33 converts and kicked two field goals along the way as well.
“We’ve never had a kicker that has had a perfect season of kicking since I have been the head coach,” Baharally added. “We had an offensive line with four Grade 10 players and one Grade 12 player that improved every game that they played together to allow our running backs to run through big holes and allowed our quarterbacks plenty of time to connect on passes to our receivers.”
The annual awards banquet for Wildcats will be held at the Wm. E. Hay cafeteria on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.
Stettler Minor Football AGMThe Stettler Minor Football will be hosting their annual general meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Canalta conference room from 6:30 p.m.
All are welcome to attend the meeting.