ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD - Nick deChamplain
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER - Coleman Precht
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER – Ben vanLeeuwen
MOST CONTRIBUTION/LEAST RECOGNITION – Travis Heggart
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Keegan Pawlik
OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN - James Suranyi
OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER – Logan McCullough
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER - Cordel Callioux & Matt Coogan
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD - Quade Kozak
LEE GRANT MEMORIAL TROPHY - Ben vanLeeuwen
TRUE ROOKIE AWARD - Adam Rafat
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER - Zach Roberts
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER - Jakob Kikkert
MOST CONTRIBUTION/LEAST RECOGNITION - Ethan Mickleborough
MOST OUTSTANDING LINEMAN AWARD – Tanner deChamplain
OUTSTANDING SPORTSMANSHIP & DEDICATION– Luke Randhawa
OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER - Jordan Howe
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER - Carson Antoniuk
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD - Zach Froese
On Sunday, May 21 at the Football Alberta Bantam Bowl banquet our own Larry (Coach O) Olexiuk will be inducted into the Football Alberta Life Membership/Hall of Fame. Larry's accomplishments listed below in the Football Alberta press release speak for themselves, but his passion and genuine devotion to the Bulldogs Football program is second to none. We at Bulldogs Football are proud to have such a distinguished and true gentleman teaching our boys how to become men first, and football players second.
Please join us in congratulating Coach O!
Life Membership/Hall of Fame Award
Larry Olexiuk – St. Albert Minor and High School Football
Larry Olexiuk’s involvement in football stretches back to 1967 with his first year of coaching the offense with the Jasper Place Bantam Lions. A year later he became the head coach of the Palmer 49er’s Bantam team in St. Albert and began a close to 50 year love affair with football in that city. Over the years, Larry was instrumental in coaching at all levels of the game in St. Albert and also supported the Edmonton District Bantam Football Association as head coach of their all-star team in 1986 and 1987. His most important role in St. Albert was as the main driver for the creation and initial funding of the St. Albert High School Football Association in 1986. Prior to that players had to leave the city to play high school football. Since that time the high school situation has grown from one senior team to football at all three high schools in St. Albert. Thanks to Larry over 200 young men get to play high school football in their hometown each season. Very deserving of the Life Membership/Hall of Fame award.
Congratulations to QB Quade Kozak voted by Metro League Carr Conference Division I coaches as the league MVP!
Quade had his amazing season cut short in the Carr Conference Division I semi-final with an injury but his stats for the season and his leadership on the field speak for his nomination and being voted as the league MVP.
QUADE KOZAK stats for 2017
8 Games played, 6 wins 2 losses
PASSING - 189 Passes attempted, 117 Completions for 1868 Yards 61.9% completion percentage. 18 TD, 6 Int.
RUSHING - 97 Attempts, 611 Yards 6.3 Yd avg, 5 TD
PUNTING - 46 Punts - 1673 Yards - 36.4 Yd Avg.
The Bellerose Composite Bulldogs finished off their Division One Metro Edmonton High School football season with a 42-21 loss against the Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds on Friday.
The game was a back-and-forth affair until the Thunderbirds pulled away in the fourth quarter.
The loss left the Bulldogs with a 2-5 record for their league play, and had them tied for sixth place in the Carr Division. The finish left them three points outside of a playoff spot.
Head coach, Jason Lafferty, said the team was just outplayed and they don’t have many excuses to fall back on.
“If you make mistakes, turn the ball over, and can’t finish drives, you’re going to lose,” said Lafferty. “It doesn’t matter what level of football you play in, that is the story.
“It’s frustrating that we didn’t finish [higher in the standings] but I thought, for the most part, our kids competed, and everyone has got to keep a perspective.”
Bulldogs star receiver, Ethan Maki, said there were some bright spots for the club during Friday’s loss, but the result wasn't what they were looking for.
“There were a few individuals who over-performed but as a team, we under-performed for most of that game,” said Maki.
The Bulldogs lost a few close games early in the season, including a 25-23 loss against Bev Facey in September and a 23-19 defeat against Austin O'Brien earlier this month. If those games had gone their way, they’d be prepping for a playoff game this week.
Lafferty said the division was closer than the standings show.
“The margin for error at the Division One level is small,” said Lafferty. “We’re all very close [in the division], with Bev Facey, us, Spruce Grove, Ross Sheppard, and Austin O’Brien … I think we are all well matched and it’s a competitive place to play.”
The team's provincial qualifying game is slated for Nov. 9. Their opponent will be determined by which team wins the Division Two Miles Division.
The Bulldogs plan to improve their overall team experience. With last season wiped out due to COVID, many players on this year’s team are still adjusting to the level of play.
Maki said it was a big thing missing from this year’s team.
“Most of the team doesn’t have more than one or two years of experience due to COVID,” said Maki. “Our team, everyone’s teams, missed out on a year of football, and that really hurt everyone.”
Lafferty said he hopes the time off and practices will help them get over that hump so they show well at the provincial level.
“We’re going to put the week behind us,” said Lafferty. “We’ll review the film, have those heart-to-heart moments in our room, get better, and evaluate it.
“These are my guys and we’re going to coach them as hard as we can.”
Standing at just 5’3” Grade 12 student Nicole Gauvin doesn’t fit the stereotype of a high school football player.
But Gauvin squashed the stereotype and proudly represented the Bellerose Composite Bulldogs at Emerald Hills Park in Sherwood Park on Friday.
Seeing a girl play on a high school boys' football team is something head coach Jason Lafferty never thought twice about. Girls have been involved in the school’s football program before and Lafferty said he wants to make sure every student has a chance to show what they’ve got on the field.
“We’ve had girls in our program in the past who have played on our junior team, so it's not out to lunch to have girls interested in tackle [football]”, said Lafferty. “It’s not unusual, it’s just about finding the opportunities where [girls] can get involved in the game.”
Lafferty is impressed with Gauvin’s commitment. He said the ball got rolling after Gauvin approached him with an interest in becoming the team’s kicker.
“Nicole is a really good athlete and she sent me some film asking if she could kick for [the Bulldogs] ... I looked at the film and there were obviously some things to work on in terms of her timing,” said Lafferty. “She’s got a strong leg and more importantly she’s a great kid and I’m happy she’s around our football program.
“Kicking can be a kind of lonely job, so she’s worked on her own and with the team and she’s done a really good job of staying engaged with it.”
Gauvin was a soccer player first. She has played since she was five. She recently became interested in football after a friend of hers pointed out her kicking ability as a potential benefit for the football team.
“It was one of my best friends who told [coach Lafferty] that I was really good at soccer and that I would be a really good kicker,” said Gauvin. “My friend convinced me, and my dad is a big football fan, so I decided to talk to Lafferty about kicking in practice and I guess I got good enough to play in a game,” said Gauvin.
In her first game as a Bulldog, Gauvin had three opportunities to kick a field goal and was able to score all three. The team had her back, and Gauvin said it was an experience right out of her dreams.
“Everyone was cheering for me on the sidelines and when I got my first field goal the guys lifted me up on the field,” said Gauvin. “It was exhilarating, it was crazy, I have never felt that much adrenaline in my life and I’ve played soccer my whole life.”
“It was just ... I don’t know ... it was like a dream and it was so fun!”
Gauvin is currently unsure about whether she’ll pursue football over soccer, but her focus right now is to stay in the moment and enjoy the fun while it lasts.
“I definitely want to go somewhere in soccer, but it would be cool if I could work football into that as well,” said Gauvin.
Her next opportunity to kick for the Bulldogs is this Friday, Oct. 1 as they host the Harry Ainley Titans at Larry Olexiuk Field.
It might not have been the biggest fixture in Edmonton sports, but as far as local athletic endeavours go, the city sure lost a visible one.
Videographer and producer Rob Zittlau and his wife, Grace, were killed in a highway collision over Thanksgiving weekend.
Zittlau made it his life’s ambition to ensure all levels of Edmonton’s sports scene could be seen, spending the past three decades building his company, ICU Video Productions, into a top-notch focus on amateur broadcasts – or ‘procasts,’ as he called them – and practice film.
The fatal crash happened east of Legal at the intersection of Hwy. 651 and Hwy. 803, where Morinville RCMP responded around 5 p.m. Sunday.
Police say two adults in a southbound car died on scene, while a six-year-old girl and four-year-old boy also in the vehicle were taken to hospital. The driver and passenger in an eastbound SUV suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
“The sad part about it is, as much as we’ve heard of the accident is that he was trying to take his niece and nephew to the corn maze,” said Football Alberta executive director Tim Enger. “It is really sad. He and Grace did not have any kids of their own, but I know that they had a lot of nieces and nephews and they just doted on them.”
It wasn’t always easy finding time to spend with family outside of football, baseball, hockey and, more recently, E-sports competitions that ran the gamut from amateur to high-school, semi-pro and professional levels across the Edmonton area.
“And he probably wouldn’t have been doing that on a weekend in the fall if we’d have had football,” Enger said of the cancelled high-school schedule. “So, it’s probably an example of him going above and beyond for family again.
“With something horrible happening while he was doing that.”
His love of family was about the only thing that rivaled his passion for covering amateur sports.
“It was like a security blanket,” Enger said. “When you went to any sporting event there was a good chance that Rob was going to be there. He was with the Edmonton Prospects, The Brick Novice Tournament, he did Golden Bears hockey.
“Every once in a while, I would take my family to a Prospects game or Golden Bears game and there’d be Rob, and you’d look at it and go, ‘Yup, now the world make’s sense because he’s here.’ So, he really carved out a nice effect on the Edmonton sports community for decades. It’s really going to be tough to replace Rob.”
Dave Foley worked closely with Zittlau at ICU for the past nine years, or, measure it in games and practices filmed, and they were well over 2,100 together. And that’s before all the editing and processing work that went into it.
“I’m devastated,” Foley told Postmedia in a phone interview Wednesday, following a video call from the crash site with CTV Edmonton, where Zittlau once worked as an editor. “I’m glad I went. I went out there and had a good ugly cry.
“I knew Rob knew lots of people, but getting the responses and hearing all of this is, like, oh man, it’s even a shock for me: Who doesn’t he know?”
Zittlau and his crew approached even the most minor of leagues like it was Stanley Cup-worthy and, in more than a few cases, the work played no small part in helping athletes grow beyond the grassroots of local fields.
“Very sad news to hear, condolences to the Zittlau family and his friends,” tweeted Edmonton Football Club punter and University of Alberta Golden Bears product Hugh O’Neill. “Rob was a staple of the football community and I used his film to help get recruited to university football.
The Ross Sheppard grad wasn’t alone, either.
“You look at guys out there right now, like Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma State), Ajou Ajou at Clemson, and Lwal Uguak is at Connecticut, one of the complaints when I first started here years ago was why aren’t the big-time scholarships being offered to Canadian kids?” Enger said. “Part of the problem is Clemson and Oklahoma State weren’t going to send somebody up here to watch this, so they were relying on game film. So, if you don’t have quality game film, it’s like you’re playing in obscurity.
“Once Rob got going, if a kid wanted to piece together a tape, they were getting NFL-caliber stuff, so (schools) could make their judgments better. I think that is why you’re starting to see players from the Edmonton area start to trickle into the Div. 1 schools in the United States.”
Although Zittlau just started working with the Edmonton Prospects, procasting around 30 games in 2019, the team’s managing partner, Patrick Cassidy said it set a new standard for what he would like to see streaming throughout the Western Canadian Baseball League in the future.
“He was just a hard-working, dedicated, straight-forward kind of guy,” Cassidy said. “He wasn’t done. He was still building and had ideas and wanted to do more. He was one of those drivers, an entrepreneur prepared to take the risks and make it happen.
“It was a pretty damn-good production and he did it at a fraction of what anybody else would do. That’s why you just appreciated the guy, because he had the kind of background and talent he probably could have gone and did something else and made more money.”
On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge
Tuesday’s metro Edmonton division one junior semifinal between the Bellerose Bulldogs and Salisbury Sabres kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Clarke Stadium.
The Bulldogs (5-1-1) and Salisbury (5-2) finished second and third, respectively, in the eight-team standings.
The Bulldogs beat Salisbury 33-29 in league play Oct. 24 in Sherwood Park. At halftime the Bulldogs led 27-0.
The winner plays the Jasper Place Rebels (6-1), the defending champions, or Harry Ainlay Titans (4-2-1) in the Nov. 14 final.
Last year’s 27-11 loss in the division one semifinals to the Rebels ended an undefeated run of four consecutive undefeated championship seasons for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are 39-2-1 in league and playoff action since losing the 2011 semifinal after Monday’s 62-15 rampage against the Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds (0-7).
The Bulldogs cruised to leads of 39-6 at the end of the first quarter and 52-6 at halftime.
Jakob Kikkert scored on the first play from scrimmage on a 65-yard run.
Shep answered with a long run but the convert was no good.
The ensuing kick-off was returned by Kikkert 75 yards to the house.
The next TD was Zach Froese’s quarterback designed run of 44 yards and the rout was on.
Froese connected with Ethan Mickleborough on a 30-yard catch and run TD and Dylan Young’s one-yard TD burst was set-up by Adam Rafat’s reception from Froese.
Ethan Engele and Denes Demeter took over the QB duties for the last three quarters as the Bulldogs emptied the bench.
Jordan Howe pulled off a pick-six, Engele hooked up with Rafat on a 40-yard TD strike and Gage Froese ran in a two-point conversion.
Howe also returned an interception for a TD but it was called back because of an iffy illegal block. That set up Kikkert’s third TD on a short completion by Demeter.
Shep aired the ball out for a long TD, followed by the two-point conversion and then got a single off the kick-off.
A suspect holding penalty wiped out Will Baker’s 75-yard TD on a trick play.
Adam Rafat was a touchdown machine with four scores as the Bellerose Bulldogs stomped the Austin O’Brien Crusaders 41-0 Tuesday in metro Edmonton junior football.
Zach Froese and Jordan Howe also produced TDs as the Bulldogs improved to 2-0-1.
The junior Dawgs led by 20 points at halftime and running time started in the third quarter as the Crusaders (2-1) struggled to stop the Big Three on the Bellerose offence. Rafat is the team leader in TDs with eight while Froese, the quarterback, has rushed for three majors and Howe has four TDs.
Up next is Tuesday’s tilt with the Jasper Place Rebels (2-1). Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Johnny Bright Park.
Last year’s 27-11 loss to the Rebels in the division one semifinal ended a spectacular run of four undefeated championship seasons in a row for the Bulldogs.
The only high school junior football team in St. Albert is 36-1-1 in league and playoffs combined since losing the 2011 semifinal.
A tie was better than a loss for the Bellerose Bulldogs in high school junior football.
The Bulldogs are 1-0-1 after clawing back to even the score at 28 against the Harry Ainlay Titans on Tuesday night at Larry Olexiuk Field.
“It’s a good tie because we brought our way back up,” said Jordan Howe, a Grade 10 receiver and defensive back. “We can’t let any numbers go up in the middle section so that means no losses and we’ve got to keep working on that.”
The Bulldogs shook off a 14-point deficit in the third quarter with Howe and quarterback Zach Froese scoring touchdowns and Adam Rafat’s two-point conversion.
“We made a great comeback,” Howe said. “We couldn’t take an L against these guys because our senior team lost pretty bad to them (44-14 in the division one Carr conference) so we had to prove that we can do better.
“We’ve also got to keep our junior streak going.”
The Bulldogs have yet to lose a regular season contest during a 35-1-1 stretch that started in 2012 and included last year’s 27-11 loss to the Jasper Place Rebels in the division one semifinals that ended a run of four junior playoff championships in a row and one short of the metro Edmonton league record.
The Bulldogs got off on the wrong foot while falling behind 21-14 at halftime.
“When we were losing everyone was down but we just had to keep pushing. They had a good running game and we just had to make more tackles and less mental mistakes,” Howe said. “Everyone got a few nice touchdowns and we were able to pull through in the end.”
The team’s first TD was a four-yard run by Froese early in the second quarter and the convert was no good.
With one second left in the half, Howe was on the receiving end of a TD pass from Froese on the five-yard curl into the endzone.
Froese and Ethan Mickleborough also combined on the two-point conversion.
Down 28-14, Howe turned on the jets during a blazing 60-yard catch and run with Froese pulling the trigger and the convert was unsuccessful.
“I just get so amped up when I score a touchdown like that,” Howe said. “I think the smile on my face gets the team hyped up.”
The Bulldogs tied it up with Froese’s quarterback sneak after Howe was stopped short of the goal line and Rafat ran in the two-point conversion on a jet sweep play.
The Bulldogs kicked off the season with a bang by blasting the O’Leary Spartans (0-2) 47-7 before buckling down against a formidable foe in the Titans (1-0-1).
“It was a better game because O’Leary wasn’t as strong as a team as Harry Ainlay so it was good competition. Now we know what we’re facing so we’ve got to come better prepared next time,” said Howe, 15, a bantam product of the St. Albert Fury.
Tuesday the Bulldogs tackle the Austin O’Brien Crusaders (2-0) at 6 p.m. at Larry Olexiuk Field.
The top four finishers in the eight-team division qualify for the division one semifinals and the rest of the teams compete for division two honours.
Congratulations to #6 Matt Coogan, LB and #68 James Suranyi, OL for making the 2018 Senior Bowl All-Star Roster. Matt and James will compete in the 2018 Senior Bowl on Monday May 21, 2018 at Foote Field in Edmonton.
A shout out to 9 of our Bulldogs players who were voted by the Metro Carr Division I Coaches as Metro Athletics All Edmonton All-Stars. Please note, coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players so this is recognition by our competitors.
2017 All-Edmonton Carr Division I Players from Bellerose Bulldogs.
Quarterback – Quade Kozak #39
Running Back – Ben VanLeeuwen #29
Receiver – Travis Heggart #86
Receiver – Logan McCullough #7
Offensive Line – JP Parent #99
Offensive Line – James Suranyi #68
Defensive Line – Keegan Pawlik #63
Linebacker – Matt Coogan #6
Defensive Back – Cordel Callioux #2
9 Players from the Bulldogs is the most from any team in the Carr Conference in 2017.
Congratulations to these players for their well-deserved recognition.
Please see the document listed below for the actual announcement by Metro Athletics and All-Stars from all 3 Football Divisions.