CANMORE – Catching the eye of head coach Spencer Rose, this year's Canmore Wolverines football team is loaded with potential.
And if the high school team gets up to speed before late October, it could be lining up for kick-off at the biggest tournament of the year.
The Wolverines' march to the playoffs is underway as they look to pick up their first victory against the Olds Spartans this Saturday (Sept. 24) at the home opener at Millennium Field in Canmore. Kick-off is 1 p.m.
“It’s becoming a pretty close group; good character guys that starts with our captains and our seniors doing a good job at leading by example,” said Rose.
“I think after we get up to speed and play with a little more force and a little more speed we should be in decent shape.”
After a couple shaky years through the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a big appetite for football as “numbers are up significantly” than in years past. However, the 2022 Wolverines are still a “work in progress”, said Rose.
It was noticeable in last Saturday's game against the Drumheller Titans. The cobwebs from the pandemic still covered the Wolverines and they got handled 26-0 against their old rivals in the season opener.
The team has struggled to put up points in recent years. A thorn in the side of Canmore’s offensive production has been the blitz, a defensive tactic used to disrupt pass attempts.
“We’re trying to figure out the offence and some of the major things are our blocking schemes and figuring out who we have to pick up because Drumheller and Ardrossan, the team we played in the [exhibition] jamboree, they definitely had their way with the blitz and so far we struggled to move the football,” said Rose.
One Wolverine who will be relied on to create a spark on the field is running back, Kai Perron. The Grade 12 played for one of Team Alberta’s football teams this past summer and it is expected he’ll have the pigskin in his hands when a first down or the end zone are in sight.
Rose is adamant that his star player will need the supporting cast to do their part if qualifying for provincials is on the horizon, which is still being finalized.
The Big Sky League, which the Wolverines historically have played in, was dissolved this season with the intention to re-form it in 2023. However, it is “business as usual” for the Wolverines over the next few months and a tentative play-in game will determine which Big Sky team goes to the provincial tournament.
The league disbanding has also freed the Wolverines to explore game play outside of the conference, such as against Cranbrook, British Columbia's Mount Baker Wild. In what could be an annual tradition, the Wild are scheduled for a game in Canmore for the first time on Oct. 8.