Sturgeon pregame warm-up with Adam Dahoy (9), Spencer Demerais (2) and Bo Johnson (80). – Submitted Photo
submitted by Chad Hill. Sturgeon Composite High School Social Studies Teacher – Head Football Coach
It was a much-hyped Miles (Division Two) battle at Olexiuk Field in St. Albert on Friday night. The Sturgeon Spirits battled the Bellerose Bulldogs in a historic first meeting between two programs who played together under the Bulldog Football banner from 2005 to 2017. The Bulldogs have moved down from the Carr (Division One) conference, and the Spirits have ascended from the Gilfillan (Division Three) conference to meet for Miles playoff seeding. The Dawgs came into the game with a 5-1 record, while the Spirits entered with a 4-2 resume. Both teams had clinched a playoff berth .
The game itself proved to be worth the season-long wait as a new rivalry has undoubtedly been created. It was a hard-hitting, defensive slug-fest that saw both offenses commit seven turnovers respectively.
Sturgeon was first on the board as a Dusty Campbell threw an errant pass which was intercepted by Bulldog defender, Caleb Holmes in the Bellerose endzone. An illegal block infraction resulted in a single point being awarded to the Spirits. After a Bellerose fumble was recovered by defensive lineman Dawson Finnerty, the Spirits scored their first and only major of the game. Dusty Campbell capped off a short drive for his team-leading eighth rushing major. Grade eleven stand-out, Tanner McBride ran in the two-point conversion. The remainder of the first half saw both defenses dominate. The Bulldogs were led by linebacker Everett Draudson, and the Spirits saw big plays made f undersized linebacker, Steele Doronski.
Bellerose fired out of the gates to start the second half. Running backs, Anjiro Absolon and Braxton Turner rattled off long runs before quarterback, Tyler Sims finally broke the shut-out with a one yard plunge. With the Spirits clinging to a 9-7 lead, all-star receiver, Darius Crandell finally made an impact with a 15 yard touchdown reception from Sims. The grade eleven phenom came into the game with 47 receptions, 735 yards and a league leading, eleven touchdowns. The Sturgeon defense held Crandell to three receptions for 35 yards. However his touchdown proved to be the game-winner as the Bulldogs clinched first place and a home playoff semi-final game vs the St. Francis Xavier Rams at 6 pm on October 27th. The Rams gave the Bulldogs their lone defeat this season in a 27-2 blowout in week five.
Meanwhile, the Sturgeon Spirits settle for 3rd place and will travel to Johnny Bright Park to battle the Arch Bishop Jordan Scots on Friday, October 27th at 5 pm. The Scots handed the Spirits their most lopsided defeat in a week four 42-20 tilt in Sherwood Park.
Injured Quarterback Austin Panchyshyn dressed to celebrate Senior Night.
Sturgeon has thirteen graduating players.