The Strathmore High School Spartans Football Team's first ever provincial finals ended in disappointing fashion, with a 44-0 loss to the Holy Rosary Raiders from Lloydminster on Friday night. Despite the loss, the Spartans still earned an impressive achievement by being the Southern Alberta Champions. While the game didn't go the way the Spartans wanted, Head Coach Danny Warrack said it was a good learning opportunity.
"Our inexperience really showed through in that game. We are getting more experience as we go, this year was really good for our grade 10s and 11s. I think they're going to be more hungry next year to have an even better season. We know now what it takes to compete with the really good teams and we're not quite there yet, so we gotta keep working," he said.
"It's going to take time to get this program where we want it. This year was a good step, so we need to improve on this next year."
Even though the game was disappointing, the season definitely wasn't, as the school's first ever finals appearance is a big reason to celebrate. It's even more impressive when you consider this Spartans team did not look like a team that would make it to the big game when they were 1-3 and coming off three straight losses. But Warrack always had the goal set to make it to the finals and the players definitely responded and fully bought in to win their next 5 games in a row on their way to the big game.
"I would say it was a fairly successful season, we reached our goal of getting to the finals. That was our goal since early October that we had come up with, we thought it was there for the taking and they definitely took it up."
"I am proud of how the boys grew, it was definitely a bit of a circus when we started training camp, getting things organized. I'm pleased how everyone gelled came together, and I'm already really looking forward to next year."
As for next year, a lot of this year's players were in grades 10 and 11, so the core roster should be ready to go and pick up where they left off now that they have a full season under their belt. Warrack said learning what it takes to win was an important part of this year, and now that the players see the commitment needed, Warrack hopes they'll have a strong offseason and come out hot for next year.
This was also a great learning year for Warrack too, as it was his first season as a head coach. He said he's been around football a lot, both as a player and assistant coach, so he understands what it takes to win. Even with that experience though, Warrack said he learned a lot about being a leader for the team and going beyond just the X's and O's on the drawing board.
"I'm not a kid anymore, I'm 34 years old and the hardest thing is trying to understand the kids and how their world works. It's definitely a lot different than the one I grew up in, so that takes some getting used to."
Warrack thanked all the fans who came out to support the team, including former head coach Vic Proteaux, and he also thanked all the volunteers and his assistant coaches that made this great season possible. A big shoutout to all assistant coaches, being:
- Anthoney Timmons: Defensive Coordinator
- Greg Zaugg: Assistant Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers Coach
- Bob Marleau, Ken Johansen, Torrance Clark: Offensive and Defensive Line Coach
- Joey Motokado, Ty Stone: Runningbacks Coach
- Caleb Stone: Defensive Backs Coach
- Chad Whittmore, Brigham Zaugg: game day spotter
- Kyle Tucker: General Manager
- Jake Skywalker: Assistant Manager
- Ashley Walsworth: Trainer
- Jen King: Practice Trainer
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