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A second-half comeback fell short for the St. Albert Stars in Saturday’s semifinal in the Alberta Football League.

The undefeated Calgary Gators scored on their first four drives for an early 28-0 lead and at halftime held a commanding 42-7 advantage.

However, a combination of big plays by the Stars and penalties by the home team kept St. Albert drives alive, resulting in a 49-35 victory for the Gators (9-0).

The Gators had allowed only 34 points against in eight league games before the semifinal.

The Stars (6-4) showed marked improved after losing to the Gators 53-0 in the regular season.

The Sept. 12 final between Gators and Fort McMurray Monarchs (8-1) will determine the AFL rep at the Sept. 26 national championship. It’s the third consecutive trip to the final for the Gators, who beat the Stars 41-6 for the 2013 championship.

Meanwhile, seven Stars were AFL all-star team selections. Running back Matt Jarvis (led the AFL in rushing touchdowns with seven and ranked second in yards with 649 on 77 carries), defensive lineman Aaron McComish (led the AFL with 9.5 sacks), linebacker Mike Bryski (42 tackles) and defensive back Adam Nesbitt (team-high five interceptions) were named to the first team and the second team included linebacker Keith Matchem and defensive backs’ Erik Kyler and Ron Ackie.

Ryder Horton of the St. Albert Mustangs crossed the finish line in first place in the 800-metre final at last month’s Royal Canadian Legion Youth Championships in Quebec.

Horton’s time in the U16 division race was 1:59.30.

The runner-up was Vaughn Taylor of Saskatchewan at 1.59.59.

At the Western Canada Challenge in Winnipeg this summer, Horton edged out Taylor in the U15 midget male 800m final with a winning time of 1:57.33, a personal best by two seconds that also broke a 32-year-old Athletics Alberta record of 1:57.7 held by Mark Lynch. Taylor’s time was 1:57.37.

Horton, 15, also placed fifth in the 300m at 36.70 at Legion nationals. Taylor was the winner with a meet record of 35.41.

Horton, a Grade 10 Ardrossan student, started training with the St. Albert track and field club last year in preparation for the 2014 Alberta Summer Games.

The St. Albert SLAM season tips off Sept. 12 with the Steve Nash Youth Basketball Program.

The coach’s clinic runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Ecole Secondaire Marguerite d’Youville School and the youth (initiation and junior) players – around 90 so far, which is an all-time high – will follow the program from Sept. 19 to March of next year.

The Steve Nash program is a national youth (six to 17) basketball initiative designed to develop fundamental skills, sportsmanship and a love for the game of basketball. The grassroots program supports and empowers community-based recreational groups and facilities, schools and other institutions across Canada in an effort to positively influence youth through basketball. The goal is to allow participants the opportunity to maximize their potential, while promoting the importance of youth basketball as a vehicle to build character, discipline and self-esteem.

Visit www.stalbertslam.com for more information.

The St. Albert Heavenly Rollers are recruiting junior and adult females for upcoming bouts.

The Sept. 17 information session starts at 7 p.m. at the Tudor Glen Fieldhouse at Servus Credit Union Place.

Practices are scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 21.

The Heavenly Rollers are members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, consisting of full member leagues and apprentice leagues.

Contact BB Sting at training@stahrderby.com for details.

The next roller derby night in St. Albert is Oct. 3, when the STAHR mixed team hosts Hwy. 14 Roller Derby, based out of the Wainwright and Tofield areas.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the first jam whistle is 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Visit www.stahrderby.com for more information.

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St. Albert Gazette

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