The Year of the Skyhawks ended sooner than expected in metro Edmonton football.
The St. Albert High Skyhawks, last year’s finalists in the division two Miles conference and Tier III (450 to 749 students) provincial north playdowns, fell 9-8 to the Ardrossan Bisons in Thursday’s opening playoff round in the Miles at Clarke Stadium.
Ardrossan (5-1), last year’s division three Gilfillan conference champion, is listed third in week seven of the Football Alberta Tier IV (449 or less students) rankings, and the Skyhawks (4-3) are seventh in Tier III.
In this year’s joint Miles/Gilfillan regular season to determine the Miles and Gilfillan playoff brackets, the Skyhawks finished third in pool A with losses of 17-14 to the Paul Kane Blues (6-0) and 35-17 to the second-year Sturgeon Spirits (5-1) and a three-way tie in pool B left Ardrossan slotted in second place.
With the Skyhawks losing to the No. 4-ranked Tier III Spirits, last year’s Gilfillan finalists, coupled with the playoff setback to Ardrossan, Sturgeon will represent the metro Edmonton league in the Tier III playdowns regardless of Friday’s playoff result against the pool B Archbishop Jordan Scots (4-1), the defending Miles’ champion. The score was unavailable at press time.
Last year marked the sixth Tier III appearance by the Skyhawks since 2011 and the last four north finals ended with losses to the Holy Rosary Raiders of Lloydminster.
The Skyhawks also battled through a variety of injuries to key players on a roster steep in returning players after graduating only three from the team that won eight out of 11 games in 2018.
The Skyhawks also got a head start on what was shaping up to be a promising season by conducting their first practice Aug 14. Apparently the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association has had a rule in place for about 10 years that teams can officially start practicing on Aug. 16 of every year.
Meanwhile, Ardrossan advances to Thursday’s semifinal against Paul Kane and kick off is 5 p.m. at Clarke Stadium.
The winner between Sturgeon and the Scots will huddle up in Friday’s semifinal against the pool B Leduc Tigers (4-1) at 5 p.m. at Larry Olexiuk Field.
The final is Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Commonwealth Stadium.
Highlighting the last weekend before the Capital District Minor Football Association playoffs are home games for St. Albert’s bantam and peewee teams at Larry Olexiuk Field.
Today’s kickoff times are 9:30 a.m. between the junior varsity peewee Colts (0-6) and Leduc Cats (7-0) in the nine-a-side league and 12 noon for the junior varsity bantam Fury (2-4) against the Camrose Buffaloes (1-5) in the Marv Mills Division.
Sunday the senior varsity peewee Riders (3-2) line up against the Edmonton Chargers (3-2) at 9:30 a.m., followed by the senior varsity bantam Palmer 49ers (3-3) against the Chargers (1-4-1) at 12 noon in the Susan Morgan Division.
Results from Saturday's atom games in Fort Saskatchewan for the St. Albert teams in the Capital District Minor Football Association are as follows:
• Sherwood Park Wolverines Blue scored on the last play to tie the Vikings at 35 points apiece.
Carter McNutt had a long bomb touchdown reception from end to end and Julian Ammar ran in three scores. Luka Schmidt also recorded two quarterback sacks.
• A defensive team effort pushed the Jaguars past the Fort Saskatchewan Falcons 28-14 as Lucas Massey, Alex Anderberg and Milo Harty spread out the offensive production.
• Ayden Maki’s six sacks for the Buccaneers highlighted the 21-0 shutout of Sherwood Park Wolverines Gold.
Daniel Talaber set the tempo with two TD runs and Cameron Foster also busted loose for major.
Sunday’s game times at Fuhr Sports Park are 11 a.m. for the Vikings against Beaumont White and Jaguars versus Camrose Red and 12:30 p.m. between the Buccaneers and Wetaskiwin Gold.