In a season of firsts, the winning debut by St. Albert’s first female football team will be hard to beat.
“We were all pumped and excited and amazed that we won our first game even though this is pretty much for all of us our first year playing football,” said Charley Tourond, still glowing at Wednesday’s practice over the 20-19 thriller for the St. Albert Valkyries against the West Edmonton Raiders last weekend.
“Honestly, I’m at a loss for words at how amazing it was.”
The roster of 12 Valkyries graced the field at Clarke Stadium in the inaugural kickoff for the Capital District Minor Football Association’s four-team female midget spring league.
The six-on-six full contact format for Grade 9, 10 and 11 student athletes featured 30 minutes of running time per half on a split field to accommodate two games at once.
Offensive series start at the 45-yard line and if the team doesn’t score on the drive, the other team huddles up with the ball at 45.
“We did better than we all really expected,” Tourond said. “But we’re an amazing team so I wasn’t necessarily surprised.
“I’m proud of all of them. We won’t be here if it weren’t for all of us.”
Leading up to game time, “My heart was pounding. The adrenalin was rushing. There was a lot of nerves,” Tourond said. “But these girls are pretty much like a second family so it’s like I had my family there and my second family there, too.”
Cheers rained down on Tourond and the rest of the Valkyries as the Grade 10 Bellerose student scored the team’s historic first touchdown.
“It was actually really exciting but kind of scary though having four girls coming after you,” Tourond said of the lengthy dash into the end zone to make it 6-0. “I believe we were doing a bootleg and I wasn’t able to find anybody to pass to so I started running it and when I saw girls coming after me the adrenalin kicked in.”
As Tourond crossed the goal line, “It was fun but in my pain it was kind of anticlimactic.”
On the first play of the second half, Emily Maki busted loose from the 45 and Tourond’s conversion play made it 13-0.
Conversions that are run or pass plays are worth one point and two points are awarded for kicks.
The Raiders rallied with a pair of TDs to knot it at 13 and late in the game Tourond cranked out another long run and Maki fired a conversion pass to Olivia Colbourne as the Valkyries regained the lead at 20-13.
The Raiders scored on the next drive but were unable to convert the TD as the Valkyries buckled down to preserve the victory.
“We have a really good offensive and defensive team so everyone did good in their area,” said Tourond, who saw action at quarterback and running back.
Friday the Valkyries tackled the Leduc Wildcats at Clarke Stadium and the score was unavailable at press time.
The first game for the Wildcats was the 40-13 loss to the Wetaskiwin Warriors.
The home opener for the Valkyries is April 26 at 8:30 p.m. at Larry Olexiuk Field and gate admission is $5.
The five-game league schedule ends with the May 11 playoffs in St. Albert.