After around a month of practice, the Strathmore High School Spartans Football Team is ready to step on the field again for their first playoff game. They are facing the Crescent Heights Vikings this Saturday at 5:00 PM at Stampeder Field at Shouldice Athletic Park in Calgary.
Head Coach Danny Warrack says his team has to be prepared to handle a physical team that can win in the trenches.
"We do know they run the ball fairly well. They got a very elusive running back, a good player. He's kind of the key to their offense for sure, they like to get the ball in his hands. He's usually bound to break one, so we gotta do our best to contain him. Defensively they got a pretty big D-line. They look like they're pretty solid, and competent players in the secondary as well," he said.
The Spartans defense has been the key to the team's success all year, and they'll need to have another solid outing to stop the Vikings run game. Warrack said it'll need to be a full team effort playing disciplined defense to prevent the big plays.
"Well, they need to contain, defensive ends need to contain. Linebackers can't afford to be too aggressive or get caught on counter plays and sweeps and all that. We definitely gotta contain."
As for the offense, Warrack said they'll need to find a way to run the ball against the big Vikings D-line. While the weather should be much warmer than it was earlier in the week, it'll still be a chillier November night game, and in winter football running the ball is a huge key to success. Warrack also said they'll need to incorporate the short passing game, and if they establish that they could try to take some deep shots when the defense isn't ready for it.
It's possible the starting roster may not be exactly what you expect, as Warrack said younger guys have been pushing the starting veterans for playing time, especially since he believes some veterans weren't putting in enough work over the last month.
"There's pretty good competition right now at the guard position. We've got a couple of guys in grade 10 that have played a lot. They've definitely pushed some guys for playing time. So hopefully we have a good week in practice, and the cream of the crop always rises to the top, right?"
That isn't to say all players have been lacking in the effort, as Warrack also said many players in grade 12 have really upped their game. He added the entire team is feeling pretty excited for their first playoff game.
"I think they're pretty excited and a lot of our Grade 12s have really stepped up in the last few weeks. They're realizing their high school career and potentially their football careers are coming to an end, and they want to extend it as long as they can so the goal for us is to get to the provincial finals and if we can get there, let's see what happens."
You can cheer the team on this Saturday at 5:00 PM at Shouldice Athletic Park in Calgary, the Spartans will be playing on the Stampeder Field. Good luck to the team in their quest for a championship!
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