Offensive lineman Dominic Mills, receiver Ty Metcalfe, and linebacker Chandler Ball are the latest players of the Cochrane Cobras to commit to the Calgary Colts junior football team.
While the 2020 fall season was a wash, each played key roles for the Cochrane Cobras in previous seasons. Metcalfe and Mills were also among the Cochrane players helping the Airdrie Raiders win the tier 2 midget championship of the Calgary Spring Football League in 2019.
Standing 6'3", 180 lbs., Metcalfe will bring plenty of height as well as speed and skill to the Colts. He currently trains in the Cobras sports performance program.
The 18-year-old has several friends and Cobra teammates on the Colts, and that makes it a good fit for the time being.
His eventual goal is to play post-secondary ball. He has spoken to both the Winsor Lancers and Simon Fraser but instead opted to hold off for now, especially with the uncertainty created by the pandemic.
"I decided I wanted to take a gap year, stay a little closer to home and play junior ball to continue to improve my play," says Metcalfe.
Now the focus is on earning a starting spot with the Colts, something he doesn't take for granted.
"I'm going to fight for a starting spot and hope to succeed with that team because I have that winning mentality from the Cobras."
"I'm getting better each year, and I'm going to try to make big plays for that team. I want to help take that team to a championship."
In atoms, he started on defense, but by the second year of bantam joined the offense. He appeared on both squads with the Cobras and had a memorable interception in last year's provincial final.
"That will be a year I won't forget. I was definitely looking forward to repeating and competing for a third ring, but it was still nice to get my second ring. It was an amazing experience, and I'm so thankful that I got the opportunity to be a part of that team."
His preference is to continue to play slotback.
"I really enjoy scoring touchdowns and blocking for the team. The goal is to stay on offense, but they can put me wherever they need me."
Dominic Mills, 17, signed early with the Colts and is already in training with the team.
Mills was first approached by the Colts at the end of grade 10 and has since spoken to other teams. He did contemplate pursuing post-secondary play but In the end, decided that junior ball was the right choice.
"I got a little older and a little more mature, and I realized that I think junior football would be a better route for me. They were the best team and the closer to home that I wanted to go to."
Mills, 6'1", 290 lb., has been bonding with his fellow o-lineman in preparation for the season and picking up pointers from senior players. Opting to home school for grade 12, he's preparing to take on a new role as centre.
"I was more than happy to give it a shot. I've been working on my snaps and learning the plays as much as possible. It's been a pretty cool transition."
He believes he can provide leadership to the Colts' o-line.
"I think that I could bring some really good leadership qualities. Being with the Cobras, and other teams in Airdrie, it's always been a huge thing for me to be a very vocal leader. I think my loud voice will be able to keep everybody in line and be able to focus on our games."
Mills also has two provincial rings, and while it was disappointing to not be able to cap off his high school career with another one, his focus has turned to making the transition.
"All the boys in grade 12 that were there in my grade 11 year have been amazing. We still keep in touch. It's pretty cool to be moving on, but it's sad to be leaving the Cobras behind."
Chandler Ball, 19, committed to the Colts this week.
The 6', 210 lbs. linebacker came to Cochrane High from Lethbridge and was part of Cochrane High's 2019 provincial championship team.
"It's pretty awesome how I got that experience to go play with them and now be able to continue after high school and keep doing what I love to do, which is playing football, and I never want to stop doing it. So this is a great opportunity for me to get back on the field especially with COVID going on, but it has been an awesome experience so far."
At this point, he continues to train through the Cobras program three days a week.
In 2019, the Cobras named Ball the best defensive lineman, and he was the recipient of the Cobras Crunch award for being the hardest hitter on the team.
He believes he'll bring that same intensity to the Colts.
"My mental game has always been my strongest suit, compared to my physical game. I'll mentally play guys, and that's what makes me a better player than some guys on the field."
"It will be a good experience for me and good for them to have me on their team."
The Calgary Colts play in the Alberta Junior Football League. They earned a pair of back-to-back national titles in 1989 and 1990.
The Colts have been heavily recruiting for the season ahead.