While there is quite some time until the school football season starts in September, all three teams, Panthers, Cougars and Wildcats have already been or preparing to come down to the field for their first spring practice sessions.
The varsity team Wildcats are also announcing that they will be organizing on June 6 the first of what they say will be an annual jamboree in Stettler, bringing many teams and football enthusiasts to the town.
Wildcats have already been looking forward to a strong season with a good number of returning players from last year’s team, bringing in their experience to share with the rookies and younger players. To replace six players who graduate this year, four new players will join from the bantam Cougars to the nine returning Grade 12 players and 11 Grade 11 players with coaching staff once again to be headed by Norbert Baharally.
Practices will run from May 25 to June 5 until the date of the jamboree. Wildcats’ first regular season game will be an away game against Ponoka’s Broncs on Sept. 10 and the first home game will the following week against Wetaskiwin.
In the meantime, the younger football players started their spring training last week in preparation for the upcoming fall season.
Gearing up for the season now gets the kids into the team mode early so they can get to know each other and gel as a team, said Stettler Cougars coach Mark Neitz.
“These programs are set up so we can get these kids excited about football, get them enjoying the game and loving the game.”
The Cougars are made up of kids aged 13 to 15. There are currently 25 kids in the spring training, and more are still welcome to join.
“There’s a place for every kid. Any body size, any type of speed, agility, whatever, there is a place on the football field for those kids,” said Neitz. “It’s great to get them out working and getting some exercise and teach them a game and a sport they can grow up and enjoy.”
This week, the Cougars are working on tackling and hitting, and Neitz will start slotting them into positions on the field.
The Stettler Panthers, for ages 10 to 12, also started their spring football training last week.
Intended as an introduction to football, this is the first year playing football for about half of the kids.
“At the start [they’re] a little bit shy and everything, [but] by the end of the year, they come all together and they play football,” said Zeke Ryan, defensive coordinator for the Panthers.
Spring training for the Panthers will run until the first week of June. Kids are still welcome to join.
“Just come out and have fun,” said Ryan.
For more information, contact Rob Howell, minor football club president, at 403-742-4942.