CANMORE – Crashing and pushing his way through offensive linemen, Canmore Wolverine Keithan Simeon broke free and tackled the Olds Spartans quarterback down on the green gridiron grass at Millennium Field.
It was the third time the six-foot-two, 270-pound defensive menace made the opposing QB eat dirt to go along with two tackles on Saturday (Sept. 24), as the local high school football team cruised to a 40-16 victory, the team’s first of 2022, in front of a large home crowd.
Getting his team hyped with every bruising tackle and sack, second year big man Simeon has seen major breakthroughs in his game and has ambitions of being the team’s best defensive player.
“When I first stepped into the locker room, I felt I made a big impact just because of my size,” said the Grade 11 lineman.
“I really take a passion into this sport and, all in all, it’s just amazing how much I improved. I never thought I would be good at a sport like this until this year, it’s crazy.”
Prior to picking up a pigskin, Simeon, who is of Blackfoot and Stoney Nakoda heritage, said he only excelled at cultural practices, but football changed everything.
Simeon tipped the scales at about 300 pounds when he first started playing, but after attending training camps across the province and falling in love with the sport, he’s dropped weight, added muscle and is focused on the team’s goals.
“[Football] came into my life unexpectedly and takes up a big part of my life,” said Simeon. “Without football, I don’t know where I’d be; without these boys, I don’t know where I’d be. This is like family to me.”
In Saturday’s home opener, the Wolverines’ offence helped out its defence by exploding for 40 points – the team’s most all year.
Wolverines Bryton Kapitza scored two touchdowns and Nico Hornyansky, Kai Perron, Sam Oshanyk, and Hugo Notman-Grobler.
Grade 12 quarterback Hornyansky threw two touchdowns and rushed for another.
Following a tough previous week against rivals from Drumheller, when the Titans shut out Canmore 26-0, Hornyansky said it felt good to put some points back on the board.
“We have a lot to learn from this game too,” he said. “We need to just keep building on every single game and getting better every single week and I think we’re going to do pretty well this year.”
Older players, such as Hornyansky, have aided in the team’s recruiting process this season, which has 55 players – the most the program has seen in years.
Head coach Spencer Rose sees tons of potential in the squad, especially after Saturday’s much-needed win.
“We all know what happened to us in Drumheller, so that sparked us to go out and work hard and spend a lot of time on our offence,” said Rose. “We needed to take a look at ourselves and say ‘we have to be better than this, we know we’re a better offence than this and we have to show it – especially at home.”
Over the next three Saturdays, the Wolverines play at home. It starts Oct. 1, when the Wolverines look for their second win of the season against Carstairs. Kick-off is 11 a.m.