Tough Start to Royals Season

Cold Lake Royals fall 37-0 to Holy Rosary

Photo Credit: Chasitty Roberts Royals Facebook Group

The Royals traveled to Lloydminster on Friday evening to take on last year’s top team in the Wheatland Football League, the Holy Rosary Raiders. Head Coach for the Royals, Kelly Johnson, says don’t let the scoreboard discourage you too much; it was the luck of the draw that placed the Royals up against some stiff competition early in the season.

“Holy Rosary has a good thing going, the were the League Champions three years in a row and they won the Provincial Championship two years ago and went to the finals last year. They’re pretty primed this year, they have a solid team; offense, defense, and special teams.” The Royals, explains Coach Johnson had an impressive showing, despite the competition, “we had our struggles, a bit. We competed very well. [It was] the first game of the year and we had a few mistakes, a few mental mistakes. We missed some passes early, got behind and then we started going for our third downs and gambled a bit.”

“We learned a lot, our players saw what level we need to play at. There’s a difference between practice and playing level; a big difference.” It wasn’t a wasted game, Coach Johnson had a great opportunity to assess the various skill level of his team, “I thought our quarterback, Braeden Wicht, played very well. It was his first start of the year and he did exceptionally well.'”Wicht a grade 11 student is a towering 6’1, 175 lb. “Levi Brown made his first game, he’s a safety and had a really good game,” Coach Johnson said he was impressed by the young players on the team, “Cohlton Benrier, a line backer, played the whole second half and showed us some things. I’m quite happy the young players did so well.”

The Royals have a roster of 26 players, with 19 of them returning and only four grade 12. “That’s probably the lowest numbers in about 15 years,” states coach Johnson, “this is probably the youngest team I’ve ever coached, usually we have a dozen grade 12s, this year we only have four. It’s a different ball game for us and we’re learning to coach a different, since we have a younger team. We’re adapting.”

Getting Holy Rosary out of the way early may turn into a blessing, they won’t meet again until playoffs, should the stars align in that direction where they would be matched up. “We told the boys, you can worry about this tonight, that’s it. Then we need to focus on Vermilion for next weekend. Playing at that level, it’s not fun to start with Holy Rosary, that’s for sure. But it showed the boys if we really want to compete for a league championship, that’s the level we need to get up to.”

“I think we’ll see better results for us next weekend. We’ll come out, start fast and finish fast; that’ll be nice.” The Royals welcome the Vermilion Marauders to Soholt Field for a 5:00 pm game on Friday, September 9th.