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49ers' close season with a loss

The end of the season for the 49ers marks the final year of minor football for the majority of the team, many of whom will be tackling the game at the high school level next season. Some may not get the chance to play again.
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The St. Albert bantam 49ers' offence lines up with the ball in their provincial semi-final match against the Calgary Cowboys on Nov. 13, 2021. MICHELLE GUNDERSON/Photo

The St. Albert bantam 49ers' season ended on Saturday after dropping an 11-6 decision to the Calgary Cowboys in their provincial quarterfinal match.

The loss comes a week after the team made St. Albert history, becoming the first local bantam team to win a tier-one championship. 

Head coach Martin Quirk said the team was disappointed in the end result, but will still hold their heads high. 

“Unfortunately our season came to an end, but they fought to the end and never gave up,” said Quirk. “We have a lot to be proud about. We went 8-2 on the season, won the tier-one championship, and [we're] provincial semi-finalists.” 

The game was a tight-scoring affair that saw the Cowboys open up and hold a 11-0 lead heading into half-time. The 49ers battled back to make it a game in the second half, as quarterback Preston Wideman ran in a five-yarder to make it 11-6, which would be the final score. 

“We came back with about five minutes left in the game and we weren’t able to get back into the end zone ... just a bit too little too late.” said Quirk. “[Calgary] had a really fierce and aggressive defence that prevented us from getting going on the ground or in the air.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t our day.” 

The end of the season for the 49ers marks the final year of minor football for the majority of the team, many of whom will be tackling the game at the high school level next season. Some may not get the chance to play again.

“Emotions were high [at the end of the game].” said Quirk. “A lot of these kids have been together for three or four years so there were a lot of tears shed, but I don’t think it was out of sadness more than that they know that they won’t be able to suit up together ever again.

“A lot of players will go to different high schools and not being able to have that familiarity and camaraderie with those players they’ve built bonds with over the years, I know for us as coaches, it's bittersweet as well.” 

Quirk’s message to the team was to go home proud of themselves and know that what they accomplished as a group shouldn’t be minimized just because of one loss. 

“The coaches are proud of them and what they’ve accomplished this year is exceptional,” said Quirk. “We grew with these players over the last few seasons, and we know them, work with them, and are so proud of their progression."


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