By Greg Price
Three players from the Taber bantam Rebels football this past season have made the final cut for the Zone 1 football team for the upcoming Alberta Summer Games in Leduc from July 14-17.
Brett Andrus, Mike Sawatzky and Ashton Werewka made the cut for the 35-player squad out of the more than 60 players who tried out.
While a SAMFA all-star at his regular wide receiver position that saw the Rebels put up the most points in the league with its spread, six-pack offence, Andrus made the team as a defensive back.
“The competition was crazy deep. When you have guys like Brett who is used to playing receiver, but they figured out pretty quickly he was better suited for playing defensive back with this group,” said Jason Jensen, a guest coach for the Zone 1 tryout camps and defensive co-ordinator for the W.R. Myers Rebels football team. “He managed to really stand out with a key couple of interceptions he made in scrimmage time and in drills, Brett’s coverage was pretty lock down.”
Sawatzky was under centre as a quarterback for the bantam Rebels this past fall, but will play for Zone 1 as a running back.
“They kind of figured they wanted him as a running back from the start. They have some packages in place where his skill set lends itself really well,” said Jensen. “Get him in space and get him the ball and make things happen catching balls out of the backfield. With Mike playing quarterback as long as he has, he can read the well and makes good decisions, so that really helps with that kind of stuff.”
Ashton Werewka will play in his regular position at offensive line in which he was a machine and steadying force for the Taber bantam Rebels. Jensen added Werewka was a workhouse at the tryout camp.
“With Ashton, he stood out immediately. He was probably a top-three lineman at those tryouts. It was pretty apparent right away,” said Jensen. “His biggest strength is he has a motor. He is a kid who doesn’t quit. A lot of the time, you’ll get guys who get that initial push coming off the line, and then they’ll let up. That never happens with Ashton. He always keeps his block locked in and always stays in front of his guy and goes until the whistle.”
There were other Rebels who tried out as well and Jensen noted they were very close to making the team.
“The other kids who tried out, they were sort of the last cuts at their positions, that were listed as alternates. They were razor close. If the competition had just been a little less, they probably would have made the team. Certainly in other years, they would of,” said Jensen. “I was pretty proud of those boys. When you are a coach helping with the tryouts, you definitely want to see your home guys do good. Our guys didn’t just hold their own, they actually stood out, even the ones who didn’t make it had people talking about them with positive buzz. It speaks well of the football program.”