The Pee Wee Cyclones' season finally came to an end last Saturday, not at the hands of another team, but because they ran out of teams to play.
On the frozen Innisfail High School field, in the windy -30 degree temperature, the Cyclones battled the weather and the Calgary Colts for the provincial title. More than 150 friends, family, and fans also fought the temperature to show their support of the two teams.
The Cyclones offence took a while to get its momentum going. At those temperatures the footballs become hard and slippery and the Cyclones had multiple scoring chances but couldn't capitalize due to a few fumbles and missed catches. The Cyclones defence, on the other hand, came out flying, stopping all attempts and managed to push the Colts back into their end zone for a two-point safety. Halfway through the second quarter, the defence once again pushed the Colts back to their 10-yard line. The Cyclones offence took advantage of the field position and came out with its "Wildcat" play - a direct snap to fullback Cole Martin who ran it in for the first touchdown of the game. At the end of the half, the Cyclones were up 8-0.
The Cyclones came out flying in the second half, scoring another quick touchdown thanks to a long pass and receive play from quarterback Austin Thompson to a wide receiver Jeremy Klessens, who caught and ran it in for 30 yards. The Cyclones defence was simply impenetrable and the Colts looked frustrated, running out of options.
The Cyclones offence continued to gain yards on every play but, again, fumbles and a slippery gridiron played a role.
"The score doesn't show it but it felt like we could've scored on almost every play," stated assistant coach and offence coordinator, James Thompson. "There was probably four or five more touchdowns in there that were dropped or fumbled because of that slippery ball."
When the final whistle blew to end the game, the Cyclones won 14-0 to claim the provincial title. The Cyclones, for the next year, hold the title as Football Alberta's best Tier 3 team in the province, holding a perfect 9-0 record. They also end with the number 1 offence, scoring 386 points and the number 1 defence, only allowing 54 points, including 0 points scored against in the playoffs.
The Colts voted Thomas Layden for the Heart and Hustle award and Jeremy Klessens as game MVP. Many compliments were heard at the sideline and at the awards ceremony about the organization of the game and the gracious hosts. The Cyclones gave the Colts a standing ovation at the award ceremony to which a Colts representative stated Innisfail was all class from start to finish.
The Cyclones Association was overwhelmed with the support of the community stating everyone pulled together to make this a magical day for everyone.
"Multiple sponsors got involved and we are so thankful," stated Thompson. "We're a small town with big community spirit."
"All year we strived to be perfect," stated head coach and defensive coordinator, Wally Genz. "We ultimately played for the love of the game but dedicate the win to the schools, the parents, and the community for standing by us all year."
The Cyclones will be celebrating for the final time this Wednesday at the dinner and awards banquet. Congratulations, Cyclones, on your perfect season and gold medal provincial win.
"We ultimately played for the love of the game but dedicate the win to the schools, the parents, and the community for standing by us all year." Head coach and defensive coordinator Wally Genz.