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High school football teams take to field in season openers

The Spirits will take on Ardrossan tonight (Thursday) at Emerald Hill. The Skyhawks will look to get into the win column on Friday as they welcome St. Francis Xavier to Larry Olexiuk Field. The Bulldogs game against the Salisbury Sabres goes this Friday at Larry Olexiuk field.
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Isaac Reid (#99) strategizes with his teammates as they open up their season against the Jasper Place Rebels at Larry Olexiuk field on Sept. 9, 2021. DANA SATZ/Photo

With pre-season games now out of the way, it's time for high school football teams in the region to get to the games that count.

The Bellerose Bulldogs, St. Albert Skyhawks, and Sturgeon Spirits were active last week as they opened up their regular season schedule. 

In the Gilfillan division, Sturgeon lined up against the Skyhawks at Larry Olexiuk field on Friday. It was an intriguing game as both teams were coming off pre-season shutout losses. This provided a chance for one of them to forget those losses and start off on a winning foot. 

The Spirits got off to a fantastic offensive start. Devlin Freemont led the way as he scored four touchdowns, three of which were receptions from quarterback Chris Loanidis. Ryan Seewalt and Stefan Cloutier also managed to chip in some offence as the Spirits held a dominant 38-1 lead at halftime. 

The second half would be about preserving the lead for the Spirits. The Skyhawks wouldn’t sit idly by, however, as they were able to increase their lead and score on the final play of the game to make things a bit more respectable. Ethan Vandegriend had the only touchdown of the game for the Skyhawks as the game ended 38-10 for the Spirits. 

Sturgeon coach Chad Hill was happy with his team’s overall performance to start the season. He also praised his defensive players for limiting the Skyhawks to just 10 points. 

“This was a very important win to start our season and I am proud of how our team competed,” said Hill. “Defensively, we were led by LB Jacob Oliphant, who had a first-half interception and several tackles ... we also got second-half interceptions from Jake Herd and Keevan Paunchaud.”

The Spirits will take on Ardrossan this Thursday at Emerald Hill. The Skyhawks will look to get into the win column on Friday as they welcome St. Francis Xavier to Olexiuk Field. 

Over in the Carr Division, the Bulldogs opened up their regular season on Saturday at Larry Olexiuk field as well. They had a date with the Jasper Place Rebels. 

The Bulldogs got off to a quick start as they scored three touchdowns in the first quarter. James Hill was in on two of them as he ran in the first one of the game and then connected with Alex Lee on a pass for the second one. Ethan Maki would top the quarter off with a 56-yard punt return to make things 21-0 for Bellerose. 

That scoring didn’t let up as the game went on. Hill would find Max Taylor for another touchdown in the second quarter while Pierce Tobisch added a field goal to run to a 30-0 lead at half-time. 

Tobisch would add two more field goals and a touchdown in the second half while Evan Cox would catch yet another touchdown to finish off the game. In the end, it resulted in a dismantling by the Bulldogs as they waltzed their way to a 44-0 win over the Rebels. 

Head coach Jason Lafferty was happy with how things played out, but he already has his sights set on the team’s next challenge. 

“Our kids played hard and played well,” said Lafferty. “It was a good test for us, but the real challenge is our next match-up against Salisbury, who is a top team in the province. I’m happy, the team is starting to form and is finding their way. Every year is different, but this year seems to be a tight-knit group and they are just excited to be back on the field together.” 

That game against the Salisbury Sabres goes this Friday at Larry Olexiuk field. The Sabres are coming off a dominant 35-0 win over the Bev Facey Falcons in week one. The match-up will definitely be a can’t-miss. 

For more information on football schedules visit the Metro Edmonton High School Athletics website at

About the Author: Preston Hodgkinson

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