The Bert Church Chargers is just one win away from competing for its first provincial championship since 1993.
The high-flying team booked its berth in Football Alberta’s Tier 2 southern final with a 30-20 win Nov. 9 on the road against the fifth-ranked Hunting Hills Lightning, of Red Deer.
“I think we performed as an overall unit,” senior receiver Blaise Newberry said. “It really gave us a taste of something new, because that was a new team and definitely a new experience for us, overall.”
Playing in sub-zero conditions on an icy field in Red Deer, the Chargers relied on a strong passing game from quarterback Tristan Remus-Arevalo to secure the win. Slot back Lucas Alway caught two touchdown passes, while Newberry and Colter Cannon also contributed to the Chargers’ TD haul.
Kicker Owen Cory rounded out the team’s scoring with a field goal.
With the win, Bert Church will play the Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) Knights Nov. 16 to determine southern Alberta’s representative in the 2020 Alberta Bowl (Tier 2). The championship game will take place Nov. 23 at Raymond High School, in southern Alberta.
The Knights will be no pushover – the Okotoks-based team won the Big Rock Football Conference with an unbeaten record this year, and spent the season as the top-ranked Tier-2 team in the province. HTA and Bert Church were originally supposed to play each other Nov. 2, in the regional qualifier, but the game was called off after another team dropped out of provincials.
Even playing the game against Hunting Hills – the three-time defending champion of the Central Alberta Football League – was a feather in the Chargers’ cap, as it marked the team’s first time competing in provincials in more than 20 years.
After nearly folding just a few years ago, Bert Church’s football team has enjoyed its best season in recent history. The Chargers finished second in the Rocky View Sports Association this year, with a 6-2 overall record, and spent most of the campaign included on Football Alberta’s top-10 rankings for Tier 2 programs.
“I think the last time we were in provincials was 1997,” Newberry said. “We’re so hungry for the win. I think it’s going to be an amazing game against Holy Trinity, and I don’t think anyone should miss it.”
Kick-off for the southern final will be at 1 p.m. at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park.
While the Chargers’ season will continue for at least one more weekend, Airdrie’s other provincial representative saw its season come to a close Nov. 9 – the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers fell 22-21 in overtime in Medicine Hat against the Crescent Heights Vikings, in the Tier 3 southern semi-finals.
According to Medicine Hat's chatnewstoday.ca, the Cavaliers led 21-0 at halftime before the Vikings stormed to a comeback in the second half. After scoring three touchdowns to tie it 21-21, Crescent Heights won the game with a single in overtime.
With a 3-6 overall record in the RVSA this year, the Cavaliers did not technically qualify for provincials, but was invited after Calgary’s Rundle College dropped out. This year marked the Cavaliers’ first time competing in provincials in the football team’s five-year history.