Wildcats players pose for a group shot as they display their awards at the year-end banquet held on Thursday

Wildcats celebrate their success with year-end banquet

The Stettler's varsity football team Wildcats celebrated their season with a banquet evening of awards, honours and recognition on Dec. 10.

The Stettler’s varsity football team Wildcats celebrated their season with a banquet evening of awards, honours and recognition on Thursday, Dec. 10 at the William E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus cafeteria.

Recognized at the League All-Star awards night earlier in the week on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at the Memorial Centre in Lacombe were some of the key players of the team – Jordan Lane, Alex LeBlanc, Hunter Berger, Kyle Lawrence, Jens Lohmann, Teron Garbutt and Clayton Page.

The awards night saw many of the Wildcats being priased for their efforts.

Awards are decided by the coaching staff and depend on individual conduct both on and off the field, based on qualities like leadership, hard work, commitment, dedication, team work, athletic ability and personality.

The awards list for the Wildcats banquet night was as follows.

Most Valuable Player – Jordan Lane

Best Back – Austin Rosland and Teron Garbutt

Rookie Of The Year – Kameron Bainbridge

Most Improved Player – Terry Burks & Matthew Sanders

Captain’s Award – Jens Lohmann

Most Versatile Player – Alex LeBlanc and Kyle Lawrence

Best Lineman – Hunter Berger and Ty McCann

Player Contributing the Most with the Least Recognition – Clayton Page and Russel Steen

Most Dedicated Offensive Player – Jeremy Kirk and Cooper Smyth

Most Dedicated Defensive Player – Keegan St. Denis

The Wildcats Pride awards went to Eric Williams, Drew Cassidy and Will McDonald.

Happy with his team’s performance this season, head coach Norbert Baharally said, “Yes, I was very pleased with our year and our record this past season.”

“Making it to the League Finals is always our goal, but it was just unfortunate that our only two losses this year were at the hands of the same team, Sylvan Lake.”

Already looking ahead and what can be improved, Baharally wants to focus on recruiting players for next season.

“We do have some significant Grade 9 players that will be joining our program next year but I would like to get some more bodies,” added Baharally. “Ideally, I would like to have a roster of 35 to 38 players.”

According to Guy Neitz, with each year being a “little different” because of the type of players that come in, coaches need to make the necessary adjustments that they hope will be successful for the team and the players.

“This year we knew that we were very short of offensive and defensive line players, and our returning running back Austin Rosland was coming off a serious injury from a car accident that he was still feeling the affects of,” said Neitz. “Then to add to this our backup for Austin broke his collar-bone just before fall camp started, and so our success this year was because we had a lot of very athletic and skilled players that could play multiple roles on both sides of the ball.”

Neitz attributes the team’s stellar performance to the athletic ability of the players.

“Their athletic ability afforded us the opportunity to use multiple offensive formations that we could protect the passer and throw the ball successfully,” continued Neitz. “This allowed us to be a little more balanced on offence and those same ideas allowed our athletes to attack on defence from multiple fronts as well, overall our kids played great and in many ways exceeded our expectations.”

Baharally was “very proud of [the] guys this year for persevering and sticking it out to the end of the year with us.”

He also thanked the other staff and personnel who have been supporting his team throughout the season.

“I would also like to thank our coaches, trainers, managers, parents and our community for their continued support of our Stettler Wildcat Football Program, because without everyone’s collective support throughout the year none of what we were able to accomplish would have been possible,” said Baharally. “Thanks to Patty Steen and Jo-Ann Lane for helping me to organize this year’s banquet.”

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