The opening game on the brand-new Cochrane High turf today will have the look and feel of pregame traditions enjoyed by football fans across North America.
A barbecue, tailgate, and games will begin at 2 p.m., one hour before the kickoff of the Cochrane High Cobras home opener against Bert Church Chargers.
They've been promoting the game with the entire Cochrane High community and even produced a short video.
Tom Knitter, CHS athletic director and the Cobra's defensive coordinator, says it has created quite the buzz.
"We're are just so excited for this event tomorrow. We're hoping to have lots of community members and lots of staff and students from both Manachaban and Elizabeth Barrett. It really does represent a community project and we are so excited to be finally bringing football back here to the hill."
"We're gonna have some tailgating games, which include cornhole, throwing. competition and tackling station, things like that. We just really want to show our appreciation from Cochrane High School to the rest of the community about how excited we are to be back here. And you know what, the field's open for business."
"What's exciting about it is we're back home," says Cobras head coach Rob McNab. "We haven't been here 10-plus years. It's a real exciting thing, and that's our motto: We're back home."
"We're hoping to have upwards of over 1,000 people here tomorrow to fill these stands."
Last season was particularly challenging for the team when the turf was being constructed. It meant all their training needed to be completed cross-town at the SLS Legacy Sports Field. Parents were called upon to transport their kids across town, and their vehicles became portable dressing rooms.
Cochrane High is ranked number one by Football Alberta in tier 3 high school football after winning their opening game on the road against the W. H. Croxford Cavaliers, 39-7, on Sept. 1.
McNab says they accomplished what they needed to do.
"We got physical and we needed to be physical. We made minimal mistakes on special teams. Overall, I was quite pleased. But we've got to get better every week."
He says after they brought in their younger players for the second half after taking a commanding lead there were some mistakes made, but that's part of the learning curve.
Noah Makkreel got his first start as the team's number one quarterback and McNab says his performance was impressive.
"He loves this game, and he's one of the best students of the game I think we've had in a long time. We've had great quarterbacks, don't get me wrong, who have gone on to play at university, but he's a good student."
Whether the team will make another run at the provincial tier 1 championship has yet to be determined. They don't have to declare until October.
Last season, they made that jump and advanced to the south final. They fell just short of advancing to the provincial championship game Calgary's All Saints Legends took the lead in the dying seconds.
"We'll do what's right for us," says McNab. "We have Holy Rosary coming here next Friday, so we'll see where we fit in Tier 3, and we're going to do some scrimmages, hopefully against some Tier teams. We did OK in the spring against the three Tier 1 teams, so you never know what we'll do. I mean, we'll wait."
Tonight also marks the first time two high school games will be held on the same night on Cochrane's two artificial turfs. At 7 p.m., the Bow Valley Bobcats are hosting the Chestermere Lakers in their home opener.
A late-game comeback by the Bow Valley Bobcats fell short against the Springbank Phoenix on Sept. 1. They lost 35-21 on the road at Rundle College in Calgary.
Head coach Dustin Paul says they were hampered by a slow start and it wasn't until the second half that the Bobcats started to roll.
Football Alberta ranked the Bobcats ninth in Tier 3 football after their first week of play.
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