By Greg Price
While the final scores may not have been what local football players wanted in the ABC Border Bowl this past weekend at the University of Lethbridge, each made their presence felt which bodes well for the upcoming fall gridiron season.
“The idea is to give an opportunity for players outside of Calgary and Edmonton, who are often left out of the spotlight, despite being on the same talent level as the city players,” said Jason Jensen, defensive co-ordinator for the W.R. Myers Rebels football team and president and coaching director of Taber Rebels Football, of the ABC Border Bowl showcase event consisting of all-star games between Alberta and British Columbia. “There’s a lot of kids who are intimidated about trying out for the Football Alberta teams and what not, so this provided another avenue for them.”
Alberta finished on the losing end of each of the games which included Rising Stars (Grades 10-11), Rising Stars Selects (Grade 9-10), Future Stars (Grades 8-9), and Young Stars (Grade 6-7).
Nevertheless, according to Jensen, who served as an evaluator in each of the games, as far as giving out awards, Rebels more than held their own in the format.
“I spent 12 hours on field. I’m sunburned on the right side because I was looking east for 12 hours,” said Jensen with a chuckle.
Evan Harkness and Mike Sawatzky played on the Rising Stars Team.
“Mike was playing cornerback and they didn’t throw a lot his way because his coverage was pretty solid. He also had one forced fumble which was a big play,” said Jensen, adding Harkness played middle linebacker which was a surprise given the accolades he got during the high school regular season.“We were surprised they didn’t take him as a running back because he was a league MVP and most outstanding running back. But, he did very well as a linebacker. One series he made three consecutive tackles and forced them to punt. There were some pretty dang good players on those teams and our boys looked just fine in them.”
Kadin Reynolds and Ashton Werewka qualified for the Selects team for Grade 9s and 10s.
“Kadin was playing receiver and he had a couple of really big plays on Jet sweep plays with big runs. He had a lot of passes thrown his way he just couldn’t get to, but the quarterback was definitely looking for him,” said Jensen.
Werewka helped anchor the offensive line at centre where as they say at the thankless position at times, the more you go unnoticed the more likely you have done a really good job.
“He was named Most Outstanding Lineman for the Alberta Rising Stars Selects team. There wasn’t a single bad snap and they were able to run up the middle OK and there really wasn’t any penetration up the middle,” said Jensen.
Some peewee Rebels from this past season also got the call with Aiden O’Connor (tight end), Mason Werewka (wide receiver), Chase Hill (cornerback), and Kyler James (defensive end) who made the Alberta Young Stars team.
“They all got a solid amount of playing time, and none of them looked a bit out of place. It’s nice to see some kids of that age really shine in a showcase game like this. It tells me that we are developing some good talent at an early level. That should mean a bright future for football in Taber,” said Jensen.
REBEL YELL: In December, Jensen will be the defensive line coach for Team Alberta for the Current Stars game which is a showcase for seniors out in Chiliwack, British Columbia.