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Olds and Innisfail gridironers square off

Local teams still developing skills

OLDS – The first pre-season peewee football game is in the books, and while the Olds Huskies came away with an unofficial lopsided 70-35 victory over the Innisfail Cyclones, it was all just another important learning lesson for both squads.

The two teams from the Central PeeWee Football League squared off Sept. 12 at Olds’ Normie Kwong Park. They will do so again this Saturday morning (Sept. 19) at the Innisfail Schools Campus. The regular season then begins with the two teams playing each other four times.

“It was a jamboree game. Theoretically, we weren’t keeping score. It was an unofficial score,” said Huskies head coach Dennis Yurchevich of the game that featured coaches on the field, and teams’ offence starting on the 50-yard line with possession for 10 plays.

Nevertheless, Yurchevich was smiling broadly after the game about the progress his young players, who range in age from 10 to 12, have made compared to last year.

“So far, our performance compared to last year has been a 180 degree turn around. We have definitely played better than in the years before. Our team is much more complete, much more focused.

“There were some things we need to work on,” he said, adding his squad’s defence needs to do better on outside containment. “And penalties were big for us. We really need to work on not taking sloppy penalties.”

Dallas Haldorson, head coach of the Cyclones, said he’s approaching this year as a “development season,” especially the first two pre-season games.

“We only had two officials on the field. It’s not a typical football game,” Haldorson said, adding he was still pleased with his team’s progress.

“We graduated a lot of our offensive players last year. We actually ran three different quarterbacks. We had five to six different kids running the ball, and we put kids in a lot of different positions to see who stood out, who stepped up and made plays, and we were obviously thinking about getting some of the younger kids exposure for next year as well.”

Meanwhile, the bantam Olds Bulldogs of the nine-man development league won their first game of the five-game season at home last weekend, beating the Drumheller Titans 21-7. The Bulldogs tied the Rocky Mountain House Rebels 14-14 in the season opener two weekends ago.

“It’s a very good start,” said Bulldogs head coach Ray Watson. “I think we played well on both sides of the ball. We are working well together as a whole group.”

The Bulldogs next game is Sept. 27 on the road against the Ponoka Broncos.