By Woodard, Dale on November 8, 2019.
The Winston Churchill Bulldogs football team gets a Friday night game under the lights.
In November, no less.
And with a roster packed with Grade 12 players, tonight’s game means that much more for the veterans as the 10th-ranked Bulldogs host the top-seeded Cochrane Cobras in the Tier III South Region semifinals tonight at 5 p.m. at the University of Lethbridge Stadium.
“This year we’re pretty heavy with the Grade 12s, so I think half our team is Grade 12 that will be graduating this year,” said Bulldogs head coach Jonathan Dick. “So they’re very excited being this is their third year of high school football. It been a while since we played in a provincial game, so the boys in Grade 12, along with the rest of the team and the coaches, are obviously very excited to be in the situation with the possibility of moving on. With (the Alberta Bowl High School Finals) being down here in Raymond this year it’s an exciting opportunity to possibly advance.”
Two weeks removed from their last game, the 2-5-1 Bulldogs have been hitting the field at the north side school as well as resting a few bodies which a week off affords a team.
“Whenever you’re practising in November there’s an excitement about that,” said Dick. “There’s definitely a buzz in the air around here when we head out to the field after school for practice. The guys are really excited. We haven’t played a game in a few weeks, so we’re well rested and we have some of our guys that were injured. So we’re rested up and healed up and ready to go.
“We’ve had some opportunity to get some good practising in some not so nice weather. But we’ve had a decent couple of weeks practice. The boys are excited and ready to go.”
Today will be the Bulldogs first look at their number-one ranked opponent, although Dick has seen a few games.
“I know they came down and played Raymond,” he said. “So we’ve had film from that game that we watched. But we haven’t seen them in person. I went up to scout at a game a couple weeks ago when they were playing Bert Church up in Cochrane.”
But the Cobras top ranking this year as well as their history as a powerhouse each year offers up little surprise as to what the Bulldogs will face this afternoon.
“Cochrane is always a strong team and you can tell by their record and their number-one ranking that they’re strong again this year,” said Dick. “Year in and year out, they are well-coached and always have a stable of good athletes that always show up to play. There’s nothing different this year. Their record speaks for itself and when you look at the record books I think they’ve won 12 of the last 17 provincial titles in Tier III or something like that. It’s always a tough task when you’re facing Cochrane. Granted, we get to face them at home this year. The last couple times we had to travel up to Cochrane that’s always an even more daunting task. We get to play them here and we’re looking forward to having the home crowd behind us.”
The LCI Rams also have a home playoff date Saturday as they host the Okotoks Foothills Falcons at 2:30 p.m. at the University of Lethbridge Stadium. The Rams are ranked sixth heading into the weekend, while the Falcons are 10th.
In Tier II regional semifinal action, the second-seeded Cardston Cougars are in Okotoks Saturday to take on the top-ranked Holy Trinity Academy Knights at 1 p.m.
In Tier IV Regional semifinal play on Saturday, the ninth-ranked Taber W.R. Myers Rebels are in Drumheller to take on the second-seeded Titans.
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