The return of the Football Alberta's Senior Bowl is marked with the selection of five Cochrane Cobras players and two of their coaches.

After a two-year hiatus, Football Alberta will once again be running their annual Senior Bowl high school all-star game for graduating grade 12s.

The bowl features a game between the North and South and is being played in Lacombe on May 23 at MEGlobal Stadium.

Rob McNab has been named head coach of the Alberta South team, and Tom Knitter is his defensive coordinator.

Cobra quarterback Ethan Pickard is one of the pivots selected to helm the team along with Crew Hirche of Lethbridge.

Running back Shaun Clazie, receiver Carter Church, O-lineman Jacob Patterson, and defensive back Adam Jackson were also selected.

Carter ChurchCarter Church was selected as a receiver for the South team. (photo submitted)

It's especially appreciated by Church, 17, who has rebounded from an early-season shoulder separation that left him out of the lineup for much of the season. Fortunately, he was able to return in time to play a role in the provincial championship against the Holy Rosary Raiders of Lloydminster.

He's excited to get the opportunity to play and says the competition was fierce in the tryout.

"When I opened up my phone to see that I made the team, I was jumping up and down," he says. "I didn't expect it."

"I didn't play too much this regular season on the Cobras due to injuries, and having this bounce back is a great feeling," says Church.

"The grind has been real. Practicing every day, going to the Bow Valley turf just running routes, meeting Ethan Pickard up there when I could so he could throw me some balls. It's an honour, really."

Unlike many Cobras, Church hadn't played football before high school and was instead focusing on hockey when Cobras Head Coach Rob McNab approached him.

"Essentially, he just told me to come to play, show up and put on some pads and see if I liked it, and I decided that I wanted to try something new. It was Mr. McNab who pushed me and got me to join the team, and I'm ever so grateful that he did."

Among the Cobras happy to see him make the team is QB Pickard.

"I have never seen him play better football than this weekend," says Pickard. "He proved himself and deserved a spot on that team."

Ethan PickardEthan Pickard is one of the two quarterbacks selected for the South team.

Pickard wasn't planning to try out but was encouraged by Coach McNab.

He finds comfort in knowing he has four fellow Cobras on the team and having Rob McNab at the helm.

"Definitely very comforting to have the guy who brought me up the last three years for the last game in a Cobra helmet."

Like other Cobras, he'll be keeping a close eye on three players from Holy Rosary who made the North team.

"Some of the defensive backs that I was throwing against are in that game, and one of their offensive guys is there, too."

The North team won the last Senior Bowl after a long winning streak by the South. Since its inceptions in 1990, the South has won16, lost 13, and tied one.

Pickard is confident the South will field a competitive team.

"There are solid players from everywhere in Alberta, but the South has dominated, and hopefully they can continue doing so."

Pickard has already signed to play junior football with the Westshore Rebels, of Langford, B.C. just outside of Victoria.

While there are two Cobras on the coaching staff, Head Coach McNabb says they weren't heavily involved in the selection of players, Nonetheless, he believes they all deserved a spot on the roster.

"I was very pleased," says McNab. "I mean, these kids are the ones that always stood out for us and they did a great job at camp. They had to dedicate themselves to coming out to these tough camps and meeting up with all kinds of great players"

McNab has been on the South team coaching staff several times, including stints as head coach and offensive coordinator.

It will be Tom Knitter's second time on the coaching staff.

Other Football Alberta teams

Just today (Apr. 28), Football Alberta named six other Cobras to be among the 144 players advancing to the final selection camp for U18 Team Alberta.

Advancing are quarterback Christian Golem, receiver Ethan Clazie, linebackers Jesse Groot and Jackson Knox, and defensive backs Hunter Johnston and Tate Pickard.

Two 40-member teams will be selected. One will compete for the Football Alberta Cup in Kelowna in early July.  The other will go to the Western Challenge being hosted in Sherwood Park later that same month.

Football tryoutsThe Senior Bowl and U18 tryouts were held the same weekend at Calgary's Shouldice Park. All have advanced.