By Lethbridge Herald on November 24, 2023.
By Justin Seward
For the first time in 10 years, the Cardston Cougars senior high school football are competing for a provincial title today in the Tier III Alberta Bowl game in Red Deer against the Holy Rosary Raiders.
“We’re hungry, right, it’s been 10 years since Cardston’s been in a provincial final for football,” said Brendan Kearl, Cougars offensive coordinator.
“We’ve won historically in the past. So we’re excited (to) kind of bring the winning tradition back to Cardston. I think we’re a hard hitting, very in shape team that will show our conditioning in the fourth quarter.”
The Cougars have been preparing by representing what they have.
“And we’re just believing in the athletes that we have,” said Kearl.
“We’ve really come together as a team and we’re just excited to showcase our athleticism.”
The Cougars are playing a Raiders team that is big and have in the past gone to nine provincial finals in a row.
“We’ve had a lot of time in the film room with the players, (and) kind of picked up some tendencies, and we’re excited (to) just put the ball in our athletes’ hands and let them work,” said Kearl.
If the Cougars are to get off to a strong start in the game, Kearl thinks it will come from the mentality in practice.
“We start our practices hard, start our practices fast and that’s what we hope to do is just get out there and do that quick,” he said.
“So we’re not sleeping or go down early. But we’re going to go out hard and fast and that starts every day in practice.”
The Cougars’ path to the provincial title game began with a 44-0 win over Winston Churchill in a provincial play-in game, followed by a 49-9 win over the Olds Broncos in an Alberta Schools Athletic Association quarterfinal and a 33-8 win over the Crescent Heights Vikings in the ASAA south championship game.
“I think it’s exciting considering where we just kind of started off our road playing against a lot of good Tier I and Tier II teams,” said Kearl.
“So we took some losses early in the season. But ultimately I think that really helped us become a better football team and prepare for these tough games late in the season.”
Kick off for the Tier III provincial championship is at Setters Place at Great Chief Park in Red Deer at 11 a.m. today.