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COMMUNITY: Six from St. Albert helped lead U16 provincial team to victory

St. Albert also fielded three U18 players and two U17 players.
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Six Grade 10 students from St. Albert high schools helped Football Alberta's U16 provincial team win in December. SUPPLIED/Photo

Over the Christmas holidays, six St. Albert football players helped the U16 provincial team ride to victory.

The six were chosen from more than 200 St. Albert Minor Football Association (SAMFA) high school football players who were asked to try out for Football Alberta’s U16 provincial team.

The Grade 10 students play for different St. Albert-area high schools and include: Justyn Baniak #24 (SACHS), Jamie Clark #9 (Bellerose), Adam Dahoy #58 (Sturgeon), Alex Fairbank #8 (Paul Kane), James Hill #12 (Bellerose), and Josh Mah #25 (Paul Kane).

The coaching team prepared them well and they were confident going into the game. 

All six boys had a strong showing, which helped the U16 team ride to a 51-0 victory over Team B.C. in the Dec. 21 game.

Hill was one of two quarterbacks that led the team to victory. Other notable plays included numerous tough tackles by Baniak, including a quarterback sack early in the game and a fumble recovery late in the game. Mah also made several catches.

SAMFA president and the boys' former coach Geoff Richer said: “The 2020 Bantam team was definitely the most talented team I have ever seen for both offence and defence. There were 14 players from this team that made the original cuts playing for the two Alberta north teams. Then we had these six make the final cut. On top of the six U16 players there were four that made the U17 and U18 teams. They all represented St. Albert well," said Richer.

"It is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the SAMFA coaching and administration team.”

St. Albert also fielded three U18 players — Brady Cooke (Paul Kane), Will Mah (Paul Kane), and Ethan Maki (Bellerose) — as well as two U17 players — Wyatt Horchuk (Paul Kane) and Jackson Walters (Bellerose).

Wyatt said, “The game was a great opportunity to experience football at the next level. It was a good chance to represent football in St. Albert as well as football at Paul Kane.”

Both the U17 and U18 teams battled hard until the very end but were defeated by B.C.

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