Team Alberta wins gold at the 2018 Football Canada U16 Western Challenge. Photo credits courtesy of Ameeta Vohra and Football Canada.
Local football players Duncan Critch and Kieston Watchmaker are coming home with a gold medal on the national stage.
Team Alberta was victorious Saturday at the 2018 Football Canada U16 Western Challenge beating Team Manitoba 47-21 at Foote Field in Edmonton.
“It’s amazing because I can make that team again next year. As they would say, I’m an underage player. 2003-2004 kids could make the team next year, and hopefully I can,” said Critch.
After Alberta was trailing 17-10 at halftime, Critch scored two touchdowns in the second half to kickstart the eventual route. Both plays were play-action with Critch playing the fullback spot. He hooked up twice with quarterback Luc Nolin for scores.
“We just knew what we had to do. We knew what we messed up on. We’re all good players. We all know what our jobs were. We just had to execute better,” said Critch about trailing at half.
Elic Ayomanor scored added two more touchdowns in the third quarter, and that pretty much cemented the win for Team Alberta.
There was not much time though for this team to build chemistry. From June 30-July 3, Team Alberta held two-a-day practices that required “a lot of focus” and “memorization” in Critch’s words.
Then the tournament began on Wednesday where Alberta beat British Columbia 21-16 on to advance to the final.
Both Critch and Watchmaker tried out for the team at the north camp months ago. They were invited back to the southern camp in March before they earned their spot on the team.
Watchmaker played offensive line in both the tackle and guard spots.
Critch is from Ardmore and is heading to Bonnyville Composite High School next year.
It’s Alberta’s second straight victory at the U16 Western Challenge.
Luc Nolin threw for 222 yards and 5 touchdowns in the victory. Receiver Elic Ayomanor was named offensive player of the tournament. He hauled in 3 total TD’s in the final game.
Team Alberta linebacker Jack Dutton received defensive player of the tournament, while QB/K Luc Nolin took home top special teams player.