Football players were able to strap on the pads for the first time in competition in almost two full years while raising money for local families dealing with a cancer diagnosis on Saturday in Bonnyville.
The Bonnyville Bandits got the first winner, but the Cold Lake Royals got the best of the highschoolers out at Walsh Field for the 12th annual Scott MacDonald Memorial featuring Highway 28 rivals.
The Royals edged out the Bonnyville Voyageurs in the primetime game under the lights 19-6 while the Bandits beat the Ravens 36-20.
“There were more than three guys who said that was the funnest game of football that they’ve ever played and many said that’s the most football they’ve ever played,” said Voyageurs coach Larry Godziuk who said many of his players were in for their first high school game.
“We have a lot of little things to work on. And we knew that coming in, and hopefully the guys don’t feel too poorly about how we did and we can get back next week. We have some good athletes.”
The Royals rushed out to an early lead that they never relinquished. The Royals led 12-0 at halftime and scored another touchdown in the second half to seal the victory.
The annual fundraiser to support families and individuals from the Bonnyville area was modified on Saturday as provincial health regulations changed just days before the games. Their silent auction moved online and fans were asked to remain socially distanced in the bleachers.
“I wish we could have had a full event because I enjoy before the game and in-between the games is going to see a lot of our alumni who come to support us for this night,” said Godziuk. ”
The peewee Bonnyville Renegades were scheduled to take on the Lloydminster Colts, but was cancelled due to COVID concerns with the visitors, as well as the atom flag football group.
In years past, the funds have been donated back to the Haying in the 30’s Support Society or the Bonnyville Health Foundation.
Voyageurs quarterback Cooper Prybysh got some props from the coach for his work behind center in his first start.
“He’s made a solid effort to work on his throwing. He threw throughout our non-COVID year with some of our receivers when they could get together. He’s super smart,” said Godziuk who also shone lights on Nico Tremblay and Donovan Morgan.
“Nico Tremblay, who had his heart set on playing linebacker, played o-line for us, too. We got some guys playing in weird positions. And they played tough tonight. I’m pretty proud of them.
“I never thought he [Morgan] was that fast to be honest. But he showed he’s got some wheels tonight. And I like his heart. ‘I want the ball coach, I want the ball coach, give me the ball, give me the ball coach.’ And I really like that.”
The Wheatland Football League season got going later than usual this year because Westlock folded. The St. Paul Lions defeated the Wainwright Commandos 29-0. More to follow.
Bonnyville Bandits Post-Game with Kevin Sartain