Back-to-school time marks the return of one of my favourite things to cover for our sports section – high-school football.
While I never attended any of my own high school’s football games when I was a student, I thoroughly enjoyed covering local teams last fall, and I’m looking forward to watching the players duke it out on the gridiron.
I was never a big CFL or NFL fan growing up – and I still don’t follow either of those leagues very closely – but I have developed an appreciation for high-school football thanks to my enjoyment of shows like Friday Night Lights and QB1: Beyond The Lights, which focus on high-school football in the United States.
This paper covers the teams in the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA), which includes seven schools from Airdrie, Cochrane, Chestermere and Springbank. Cochrane High School is in the midst of an ongoing dynasty, having won the last five RVSA titles without losing a single game.
The onus will be on the rest of the league to try to finally knock the Cobras off its perch. Last year, the second-place Springbank Phoenix put up a valiant effort in the championship game but struggled to maintain a high intensity in the second half, and the Cobras took advantage to run up the score.
Airdrie’s George McDougall High School will be another team with an eye on the championship. George McDougall has finished third in the last two seasons, and the players will be eager to overcome that hump.
I see the rest of the teams fighting it out over the fourth and final “A” playoff spot. W.H. Croxford enjoyed its best-ever season in 2018 with a 4-4 record, but the team graduated some key players who contributed significantly to that success. The first few games will determine whether or not the team can replicate it.
Bert Church also had a great season in 2018, narrowly missing out on third place. The Chargers squad has a few very talented junior and senior players whom the team will rely on to continue last year’s competitiveness.
The Chestermere Lakers and Bow Valley Bobcats, meanwhile, will both be keen to improve on their 2018 performances, which saw the teams end the year at the bottom of the standings.
While local high-school football doesn’t come with nearly the same fervor as in the U.S., there is still plenty of passion and athleticism on display. Some fixtures – such as the yearly Airdrie Bowl match-up between Bert Church and George McDougall, or the Chestermere Lakers’ homecoming game – see upwards of 300 or 400 fans in the bleachers.
If you haven’t been to a high-school football game in Rocky View County, I’d recommend checking it out. The RVSA schedule can be found at bit.ly/2MKkZrh