The Bow Valley Grizzlies have drank from their second cup of the year and are seeking the sweet taste of victory from one more.
On Sept. 16, the Grizz won the Div. 3 southern championship and this Saturday will be facing St. Albert, the best team in northern Alberta, for the provincial title.
The Grizz came out on top, 15-5, in a nail-biting defensive battle against the Red Deer Titans, whose only losses of the year came against Bow Valley.
The Titans took an early 5-0 lead in the first minute of play but were unable to solve the Grizz defence for the rest of the game.
"It was a battle both ways, and we just couldn't get the flow of the game going in our favour," says Grizz head coach Ty Hawes. "We came out on top at the end, so that was nice to see, and I'm super proud of the boys."
The Grizz didn't get on the scoreboard until about 20 minutes into the second half with their first of two successful tries. A missed convert left the game tied at 5-5. About 10 minutes later, they scored a converted try in the corner to take the lead.
A long convert by kicker Adrian Boussenton put them ahead by 10 points late in the game.
Earlier in the game, Boussenton missed an easier 15-metre kick earlier in the game, and he more than made it for it with two difficult kicks, says Hawes.
This is the first provincial championship on the line for the Grizz since before the pandemic, and the first time they have played a St. Albert team since 2019, when they were in Alberta's premier league.
Having a tough challenge against the Titans could pay dividends in the provincial championship.
"These games are just great for experience and help to build resilience in the players," he believes. "Hopefully the boys will learn from it and correct a lot of mistakes they made last Saturday because they were doing things I hadn't seen all year."
He says when they fell behind, the team started to push too hard, rather than letting the pieces fall into place.
St. Albert beat the Edmonton Clansmen in the northern final to advance.
Game time is noon Saturday at the Calgary Rugby Union.