Above: Sturgeon Offensive Line (White) vs. ABJ Defensive Line (Black) – Tammy Finnerty Photo
submitted by Chad Hill. Sturgeon Composite High School Social Studies Teacher – Head Football Coach / photos from Tammy Finnerty
On a stormy Thursday night at Emerald Hills Park, the Sturgeon Spirits were thunderstruck by the Arch Bishop Jordan Scots. The Spirits entered the game with a 3-0 Divisional record and tied for 1st place. The Scots were 1-1-1 and sat tied for 4th spot in the Miles (Division 2) in Metro Edmonton High School Athletics.
The Spirits fired out of the gates early as James Morrison capitalized on a botched Scots’ punt return and recovered the loose football inside the ABJ 40-yard line. Grade 11 receiver Julien Ouellette capped off a short drive by catching a 16-yard precision pass from QB Dustin Campbell. Gavin Evans kicked the extra point for the 7-0 Sturgeon lead. Campbell and Ouellette hooked up again early in the 2nd quarter with a beautiful 43-yard touchdown connection. Evans again kicked the convert, and Sturgeon had a seemingly commanding 14-0 lead. At that point, the thunder started to roll, and the Scots caught fire.
QB Ryker Van Beek used his arms and legs to lead the ABJ comeback. He threw for three scores, ran for two and did his best Patrick Mahomes impersonation all game long. The grade 12 QB scrambled and threw the ball all over the field in the 2nd quarter. The Scots surged ahead 21-14 before a 40-minute lightning delay put the game on hold with 98 seconds left in the first half.
The Spirits came out flying after the delay as James Morrison came within inches of blocking a Scots punt. That would prove to be symbolic of the 2nd half. The Spirits had many misses both on tackles as well as passing and receiving. The vaunted Sturgeon run game was also limited in large part due to an aggressive ABJ defensive line. ABJ took a 35-14 lead into the 4th quarter. Sturgeon finally scored on a Dustin Campbell run for his team-leading 5th touchdown. Defensively, James Morrison was a standout for Sturgeon and ended the game with three sacks and six tackles. But the game star was Scots’ QB, Ryker Van Beek. His highlight reel runs and passes proved to be too much for the Spirits, who suffered their first regular season loss since October 9th, 2021.
The Spirits (3-1) will have a chance to prove their resiliency when they face the Strathcona Lords (1-2-1) on Friday, October 6, at Olexiuk Field in St. Albert. Kick-off is at 5 p.m.
Above: QB #88 Dusty Campbell with blocking from #55 Riley McRobbie