ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD -
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER -
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER –
MOST CONTRIBUTION/LEAST RECOGNITION –
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE LINEMAN –
OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -
OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER –
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER -
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD -
LEE GRANT MEMORIAL TROPHY -
TRUE ROOKIE AWARD -
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER -
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER -
MOST CONTRIBUTION/LEAST RECOGNITION -
MOST OUTSTANDING LINEMAN AWARD –
OUTSTANDING SPORTSMANSHIP & DEDICATION–
OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER -
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER -
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD -
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
Congratulations to these Bulldogs who move on to the next level from the U-17, U-18 Football Alberta Superweekend held Jan 11-13 at Foote Field.
Jayden Randall #12- Quarterback
Tanner deChamplain #57 - O-Line
Caleb Akerley #28 - Receiver
Jordan Howe #6 - Receiver
Adam Rafat #1 - Receiver
Jayden, Tanner, Caleb, Jordan and Adam move onto the U-17/U-18 Team Alberta try-outs in Calgary April 5-7.
Our registration for the 2019 Bulldogs Football Spring Camp and Fall season is now open. Check out our calendar for information regarding dates of our Spring Camp and Activities as well as our fall season.
If you have any questions regarding registration, please contact Darryl Moroz at 780.498.1837 or firstname.lastname@example.org