Inside the Huddle with Doug Bassett

A look at the Elk Point Bengals

Photo Credit Margaret Bayduza

Seems ironic doesn’t it, but it must have been a sports fan that invented the T.V. clicker so you don’t have to get up off the couch especially at this time of the year to change channels. Not a whole lot of exercise in that! This is without a doubt the best time of the year for the sports fanatics. Turn on the T.V. anytime right now and you can watch major league baseball, NFL and CFL football and even the NHL hockey players. The Blue Jays are battling to make the post season, every game has real meaning for the next month. Two or three years ago they would be so far back in the pack it didn’t matter. And of course the World Cup of Hockey is on and everyone wants to see Mr. Mc David perform. And for me it’s this new Leaf their bragging about Austin ‘Power’ Matthews. Let’s hope he can live up to all this hype and pressure playing in Hogtown. Heard lots about him, but to be honest I haven’t seen him play yet.

When I was teenager the only sport in the fall was football. Everyone I knew wanted to make the high school football team. Make the team and you could walk around the school like a king and get out at noon every Friday for game day. But after school every day you had to bust your butt on the field at practise, butting heads with the other guys, doing blocking drills, dropping down on the ground and getting up and down again, jumping jacks and my favorite, doing miles and miles of wind sprints.  Our team the Ancaster Royals won the City of Hamilton and County of Wentworth championships four years in a row when I played. But its no wonder, our quarterback was none other than Bob Cameron who went on to play 20 plus years in the CFL as a punter for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He had a try out with the Buffalo Bills, but spent his whole career in Winnipeg with the Bombers.  Now he’s in the CFL Football Hall of Fame. Marv Allemang was also on that high school team. He’s my first cousin and made it to the CFL too as a lineman. He played for 14 years with Winnipeg , Montreal, Ottawa   and finished his career in Hamilton with the Ti-cats. I played with some other really good players at Sheridan College too, but that’s a whole chapter on its own.

Today, lets talk about some of our local Elk Point boys who are playing football with the St. Paul Bengals.  The Bengals had a huge 17 to 3 win over the Bonnyville Bandits this past Saturday.  Doesn’t sound like that big a deal, but the Bandits won the league and the provincial championship last year, plus the Bandits showed no mercy giving the Bengals a 98 to 0 spanking last season, so they got a little payback and a whole lot of respect and now this is going to make for a great rivalry. The Bengals are looking really good this year to be contenders for the league championship. Players from Elk Point include two big monster linemen Odin’ the Wall’ Smith and ‘Danny Boy’ Cardinal. These guys are so big they block out the sun. Lineman have to open up the holes for the running backs. if the linemen fail to do their job, the ball will not get down the field to the goal line. They also have to protect the quarter back. If he gets sacked too many time, he becomes skittish, and starts to scramble and throw the ball away giving up interceptions. Also on the Bengals team is the speedy wide receiver ‘Hank the Tank’ Rogal and his brother the curly haired defensive corner, Charlie ‘ the Angel’ Rogal.  Then there’s this tall string bean kid called ‘Silent Sam’ Henderson who plays offensive half back and defensive safety, he’s also a big part of the team, along with another second year safety ‘Ty Cobb’ Smereka who was the last man left on Saturday and had to make two huge game saving tackles, otherwise it would have been a sure touchdown for the Bandits. Ty also plays offense slot back and made a catch for a two- point conversion after one of the Bengals touch downs. The rookie Chayse ‘ Big Papi’ Pankiw is learning the ropes as a defensive tackle.  He doesn’t get a lot of playing time right now, but his day will come. It’s called paying your dues.

Football is a terrific way to keep in shape and toughen you up for the real world. Better than playing on the I pad, which I guess has its role in football now too if you’re the coach you can use it to draw up plays or watch replays to see what guys on the field didn’t do their job.  We didn’t have them when I played, but you can bet the coach knew if you slacked off and at the next practise you paid the price!

And now for the K.A. Campbell quote of the week. ‘ The secret of winning football games is working more as a team, less as individuals, I play not my eleven best, but my best eleven.’ – Knute Rockne- College Football Coach