Strathmore High School (SHS) officially capped off the football season when they hosted their annual dinner and awards banquet on Dec. 22 at the school.
Brady Johanson was named the team’s MVP, while Jacob Robson was awarded the Offensive Player of the Year. Porter Zaugg took home the Defensive Player of the Year and CJ Nelson was named Special Teams Player of the Year.
David Marleau was named the Lineman of the Year, while Logan Oryshuk took home Rookie of the Year honours.
Adam Greenhill (Coaches Pick), Gage Robinson (Coaches Pick), Rein Idburm (Most Improved) and Avery Harroun (Spartan of the Year) rounded out the award winners.
The Spartans were successful in reaching the provincial finals for the first time in the team’s 25 year history, where they were ultimately defeated 44-0 by the Holy Rosary Raiders, putting a disappointing end to their Cinderella story.
SHS had entered the provincial playoffs as the sixth seed to start, and managed to claw their way into earning a spot against the Raiders in the finals. Their opponents, however, were returning to the finals for the seventh time.
“It’s our awards banquet that we have at the end of every year. We are celebrating our season, individual (and) team accomplishments, stuff like that,” said Danny Warrack, head coach of the Spartans football team. “Our three year players, we send them off as well with a little something, and that is something we do every year.”
Warrack said it was a surprise to many that the team was able to make it as far as they did, given the team has never accomplished such a feat in past years.
He added the team should be proud of their run, as they did a commendable job persevering through any challenges the season presented.
Regarding highlights from the season, Warrack said there were definitely a few that made a significant difference to the team.
“The first one was beating Bert Church (High School), that got us out of a three-game losing streak and got us back on the right track,” he said. “After that, obviously, beating Crescent Heights in the provincial quarterfinals was huge for us as a first time we ever won there, and then again, beating Sylvan Lake to get into the finals.”
Warrack said it was a bizarre feeling for his team to be in the finals, having never been there before.
He also commended his captains for keeping the team together, persevering, and being real leaders for everyone in order to get the team all the way to the finals.
Among them, Brady Johansen (17) has received multiple offers from post-secondary institutions to play football on scholarships. Aiden Harker and Adam Greenhill, according to Warrack, have been in discussions to play for Canadian Junior Football League Teams.
Regarding next year’s season, Warrack said he fully intends to take his team back to the provincial finals, now that they have had a taste of what it is like to make it all the way there.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times