FORT MCMURRAY– The Canmore Wolverines feel like the winners of the Grey Cup after defeating the St. Paul Lions 24-10 in the Tier 4 Alberta Bowl provincial football final on Friday night (Nov. 23) in Fort McMurray.
Wolverines coach Wade Buckley was hard to reach after the game, as he was busy hugging players fighting back tears, but he said he was amazed at the way the season turned out.
"That was something, what a crazy journey," said Buckley.
The Wolverines entered the second half leading by 14, and they wouldn't allow St. Paul to close the gap, playing stellar defence to keep the Lions off the board.
"I had flashbacks to Taber, but we didn't give them anything this time," said Buckley. Buckley who has been staying up late stressing over strategy the past week, said that he could fall asleep on the field he's had such a weight lifted off my shoulders.
"Fort McMurray is my favourite town, I never want to leave this field," said Buckley.
Elliot Jantz, the Wolverines quarterback, was happy with the way the offensive team played in the first half, calling it "domination," before turning on the defensive game to hold back the Lions.
"It's an amazing feeling. We have grinded and we've come so far and it's just the cherry on the top to be able to win this and take the trophy home," said Jantz.
For Jantz, an extra special feeling in all of this has been the support the town has thrown behind the team.
"The support of the town it's helped so much, they've played a huge role in this and it's been a lot of help."
Max Waldbauer, linebacker and receiver, felt honoured to be a part of the Wolverines historic championship run as well. He recently moved back to Canmore from Victoria, and was proud to help the team win. For him, this is a great stepping stone to creating a culture of winning football in the Bow Valley.
"This team has never ever gone this far, like not even close. So this feels so good," said Waldbauer. "I think it's going to kind of give us a name. People underestimated us and didn't really know who we were, but this I think is good."