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For the first time, the Spruce Grove Panthers senior football team are provincial champions.
In an Alberta Bowl thriller at Calgary’s Shouldice Park in Calgary Saturday, Spruce Grove rallied to defeat the All-Saints Legends 38-37 to capture the Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA) Tier 1 Larry Wilson banner.
Quarterback Josh Page’s late heroics carried Spruce Grove’s football team to its first ASAA title and second championship of any kind. The Panthers’ sole previous Alberta Bowl appearance came in 2012, after they had won their first and only city championship.
The sun had started to set on Shouldice Park late Saturday afternoon before the Panthers took their first lead of the game, with just 6:20 remaining in the fourth quarter. Page scored the winning points by rushing for a two-point convert, only moments after he ran for a touchdown that pulled his team to within one point at 37-36.
All Saints jumped out to an early 14-0 advantage in the first quarter. A wild second quarter saw the teams combined for 34 points, capped off on the final play of the half with a Panthers touchdown and subsequent two-point convert that sent the teams into the break tied 24-24. The Legends led 37-30 after three quarters.
Spruce Grove Panthers are this year’s ASAA Alberta Bowl 2022 Larry Wilson (Regional) Champions. Congratulations to the coaches and players for an amazing season!
🏈🏈#football #footballalberta #asaa #albertabowl2022 #provincials2022 #sprucegrovepanthers #allsaintslegends pic.twitter.com/9kcCOtDWQG
— Football Alberta (@FootballAlberta) November 27, 2022
Spruce Grove becomes the second champion of the Larry Wilson Division, which was introduced last year alongside the Brian Fryer Division as provincial playoff competitions for teams representing schools at the Tier 1 (student enrolment of 1,250 and up) level.
The Brian Fryer Division features the province’s highest ranked Tier 1 teams competing for the top prize in Alberta high school football, while the Larry Wilson Division allows for greater regional representation by including teams from all parts of the province.
After capturing the inaugural Larry Wilson championship in 2021, the Raymond Comets reached the pinnacle on Saturday, defeating the Harry Ainlay Titans 34-15 in the Brian Fryer Division final at Shouldice Park. Saturday’s other Alberta Bowl game saw the Holy Trinity Academy Knights beat the Austin O’Brien Crusaders 57-14 to claim the Tier II provincial championship.