By Jasmine Franklin
One coach of the Battle River midget Shock anticipates the football team with three Ponoka players to finish first this year.
“This is the strongest team we have had,” coach Don Loov said. “We try to have a higher calibre game than community high school teams.”
In its second year, the Shock has added Grade 11 players Zak Louis and Drew Dennis, and Drake McCheyne, a Grade 10 student. Louis plays for the Ponoka Composite High School Broncs in the six-man league and will play backup quarterback and wide receiver for the Shock. Dennis has been described as “all-star material” and plays in Lacombe as well as at starting linebacker for the Shock. McCheyne, a Wetaskiwin player, is the starting defensive linesman for the midget team.
Loov said the team works to give players an opportunity to affiliate themselves with a strong team and a fast-paced game — something that can be difficult for small town football players to find.
“In rural Alberta football players don’t really have the opportunity to play on teams with strong players from end to end,” Loov said. “Usually teams will take whoever shows for tryouts as a way to fill the roster and because of that, it doesn’t result in as high calibre of football.”
Loov said 60 players showed up for tryouts; the 45 players selected to the team will make for an exciting and strong season.
“The three (Ponoka) boys have been very steady,” Loov said. “(Louis) is a wonderful young man with a great work ethic. Coming from a six-man playing team he’s a great athlete still learning the 12-man game. (Dennis) is extremely fast and aggressive. A lot of players who are fast don’t hit fast but Drew hits really fast — he’s a dominant player. (McCheyne) is a steady defensive lineman who is very dedicated and passionate about the sport.”
Battle River Shock was formed two years ago after Camrose offered to sponsor the team that at that time was playing in the Leduc Midget Football League.
“It’s nice to play for a team (comprising) all the best players,” Dennis said. “I’m most looking forward to the championships.”
The team’s next game is May 5 at Foote Field in Edmonton. The game starts at 8 p.m. against the Millwoods Grizzlies.
For more information about the team visit www.camroseminorfootball.com