The Sturgeon Spirits have been making all kinds of history on the gridiron this year.
First unbeaten regular season? Check.
First Metro Edmonton High School championship title? Check.
First trip to the Alberta Bowl? Check back next week.
Sturgeon takes on the Holy Rosary Raiders in the Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA) Tier III North Championship game, 1 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 19) at Holy Rosary High School in Lloydminster. The winner advances to the 2022 Alberta Bowl in Calgary, where it will meet either the Strathmore Spartans or Sylvan Lake Lakers for the ASAA Tier III championship on Nov. 26.
The Spirits are coming off a 64-15 victory over the Whitecourt Cats in an ASAA Tier III North Semi-Final at Graham Acres Field in Whitecourt last Saturday (Nov. 12). Sturgeon scored 58 unanswered points over the final three quarters, rallying from a 15-6 deficit after the opening 12 minutes.
“The guys didn’t panic, and credit to the coaches, no coaches panicked either,” Spirits coach Chad Hill says. “We knew what we had to do. We had the game plan, and we know we have the horses to carry out the game plan, and they did just that. They turned it around, and the boys really played at a high level after (the first quarter).”
The early nine-point deficit against Whitecourt was the first time in 2022 that Sturgeon has trailed by more than one possession. The Spirits are now 10-0 in regular season and postseason games combined this year, outscoring opponents 415-25.
Holy Rosary is also undefeated in 2022, with a regular season and postseason combined record of 8-0, outscoring the opposition 321-53. The Raiders defeated the St. Paul Lions 37-7 in the Wheatland Football League championship game on Nov. 4, then beat the Stettler Wildcats 17-0 in the ASAA Tier III North Semi-Final round last Saturday.
It will be an amazing showdown in TIER III as teams play next weekend to earn a spot in the Alberta Bowl. Good luck to the 4 teams facing off next weekend.
🏈🏈#football #footballalberta #tier3 #provincials2022 #highschoolfootball #albertabowl2022 #asaa pic.twitter.com/eLSn5OIaWW
— Football Alberta (@FootballAlberta) November 13, 2022
This will be the second straight year the Spirits and Raiders meet in the North Final. In 2021 Holy Rosary won 43-0 to advance to the Alberta Bowl for a sixth consecutive time.
“They’re very good team, they’ve been a great program for several years now, so we’ve got our work cut out for us,” Hill says of the Raiders. “But this this is the strongest, deepest team that we’ve had at Sturgeon, so we’ve got to put in the work this week, and we want to change the story and come out on top this time.”
Regardless of the outcome in Lloydminster, this has already been a magical year for Sturgeon’s football team, which only began competing in varsity football in 2018 and needed just four seasons to reach the top: The Spirits captured their first banner on Nov. 5, when they defeated the St. Albert Skyhawks 28-0 in the Metro Edmonton Gilfillan Division championship game at Commonwealth Stadium.
“I told the players that the first one will also be the most special,” says Hill. “There’s going to be banners that come afterwards but the first championship team is going to be something that people will talk about for a long time and to be part of the original is something they’ll always remember.”