By Dale Woodard on February 12, 2021.
Two local coaches were honoured as Football Alberta announced its newly-created “Award of Merit” following a trying 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lethbridge’s Andrew Kamitakahara and his creation of the Lethbridge U18 Flag Football League and Brock Ralph, a Raymond product and current offensive coordinator with the Edmonton Harry Ainlay Titans, were among 16 individuals and three co-winner groups to cap off a tough football season. The award winners ran the gamut of football in the province from Grande Prairie to Medicine Hat, from tackle to non-contact, from administrators to coaches to athletic therapists and from all levels of play including university, junior, high school, female tackle, bantam and atom. Kamitakahara created the Lethbridge U18 Flag Football League when the school districts in Lethbridge postponed sports for the fall. Due to the cohort rules, Kamitakahara had to sacrifice his position with the Bantam Cougars so he could focus and operate the new league for the affected players at the high school level, giving dozens of players a chance to have a football experience in 2020. Working alongside Titans head coach Tyler Greenslade, Ralph ran a virtual Spring Camp last year, keeping every student ready to start on the first opportunity the province and their school division would allow them to. Ralph and Greenslade kept in contact with parents through the spring, summer and fall. They were one of a few Metro Athletic Association schools to run any activity on field or training in the fall. They continued to support students by encouraging the Metro Athletic Association to purpose for an extension to the ASAA spring season of play. If restrictions ease this spring, the extension could see hundreds of high school football players getting to play in 2021.
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