Ethan Pickard made the transition to quarterback after his first season as safety with the Peewee Lions and hasn't looked back.

Now he's rising to the challenge of being the pivot for the #1 ranked Tier 3 football team in the province.

Pickard got his third start and win last night against the Chestermere Lakers, 21-8. 

He played baseball and hockey first before discovering his passion for the gridiron. 

"I tried out for the peewee Lions, I made it, and I've loved it ever since."

In his second season in peewees, he became a quarterback and knew he found his place.

"I walked on the field and I just liked it. It was fun, and it just came to me naturally. I enjoyed being behind centre and liked controlling the game."

He says the transition from bantams to the Cobras is a bigger step than it may appear. 

"It might not seem totally different, but everything just comes at you a little bit quicker. It took a little while to get into it, and we run a full signal offense, so it took time to learn everything."

He spent a season shadowing former QB Xavier Vallaincourt and lost what would have been his first season as Number One when the pandemic pre-empted the 2020 season. While losing that chance to start in grade 11, he believe it gave many of the younger players on the team time to train and learn.

Derek Cooper is the Cobras' quarterback coach, and the one Pickard works with closest in the organization.

"We've become super close. We do our film almost every single day. On the field, off the field, he's super good, super experienced, and super knowledgeable."

Since day one, Pickard has played runningback Shaun Clazie, who has been ripping up the field and racking up the points this season.

"He's been right beside me the entire time. We started in the same position of defensive back in peewee, and then he moved to linebacker and running back, he played both ways, and I stuck with quarterbacking. We've been in the backfield together since we were little."

Like Clazie, whose younger brother Ethan is also having a stellar season as a wide receiver, Pickard has a younger brother on the team. Tate is a grade 11 defensive back for the Cobras.

"I always wished he played receiver because then it could be the two sets of brothers making plays, but he chose D."

The Cobras aspire to win their seventh consecutive provincial championship. But there's another team to the north that yearns for it: the Holy Rosary Raiders, of Lloydminister.

The two teams have met in the last five provincial championship games. Last time around, the Cobras won 17-0 in what largely became a defensive struggle, thanks to gale-force winds.

No one has a crystal ball, but should a sixth matchup occur between the two, Pickard believes it will be intense. He says the Raiders have been putting up some pretty impressive numbers so far this season.

"If we get that far, knock on wood, if they get there too, that's going to be a game. That's going to be a hard-fought battle to the end; every whistle counts, every play matters."

Pickard, like the Cobras organization, takes it one game at a time. The focus right now is preparing for their Oct. 1 road game against the George McDougall Mustangs. Although the Cobras don't play the Mustangs in provincial playoffs, they are considered one of the obstacles they'll have to overcome to win the Rocky View title. 

Another touchdownPickard hands the ball holder to kicker Kylian Beaupre after another Cobras touchdown.