CANMORE – It's been a long year that the Willow Creek Cobras have waited for this matchup and the Canmore Wolverines know it.
The eighth ranked Canmore Wolverines football team takes on the number one ranked Willow Creek Cobras in the semifinals for the third straight season in Claresholm, Saturday (Nov. 9) at 1 p.m.
The winner advances to the south finals, where they’ll face either the Drumheller Titans, or W.R. Myers Rebels the following weekend.
After each team eliminated the other in the 2017 and 2018 semifinals, they went on to claim the Tier V Provincial Championship. The local squad won most recently in a triumphant underdog journey to the finals. Because of this reason, the Wolverines expect the top ranked Claresholm team to be eager to come out with fangs extended, ready to go for the kill Saturday. However, the local club is preparing for a whacking day repeat against the serpents.
“We haven’t come through in big games this season,” said Wolverines head coach Spencer Rose. “We haven’t had a big signature win yet. They’re ranked first in the province and getting a signature win against this team would springboard us to the south finals.”
Rose said he has a decent amount of film on the Cobras to go over before the upcoming playoff clash, describing the Claresholm gang as big and talented with good passing, receiving and running.
“From what I’ve seen they’re a beast,” said Rose. “They’ve been mowing teams down at this level.”
In order to slay the slithering beast, the Wolverines will have to rely on two-way players such as Tait Cassie to drive the ball downfield and make big defensive stops.
It’ll be the third time the Grade 12 Wolverine will play in the semifinal against the Cobras, a game Cassie said would “mean the world” to the senior players to come away with another upset victory and extended football season.
“They’re very good and very strong and currently our team is a little nervous to play them,” Cassie said. “This game is very tough and way harder than [playing against] Drumheller; we have to prepare a lot more and take it more serious.
“There’s a reason why they’re number one and we have to take that into account and step up.”
The Wolverines matched up against the Cobras after losing 28-3 in the Big Sky League championship to rivals the Titans in Drumheller last Saturday (Nov. 2).
The defeat meant not only losing the prized Big Sky League championship banner, but losing home field advantage in the semis.
“We haven’t had success on the road [this season],” said Rose. “It’s a two and a half hour bus ride to Claresholm and it’s going to be tough to maintain focus we need to be sharp.”
In the north semifinals, the Sexsmith Sabres take on the St. Paul Lions and the Ardrossan Bisons challenge the Wildcats in Stettler.
The Bisons are the last northern team to go all the way and win the Tier V provincial title in 2015.