Despite a 16-14 loss to the Chestermere Lakers last night, the future looks bright for the Bow Valley Bobcats football team.
The Bobcats played to the bitter end, with Caleb Graham punching in their second touchdown with zeros on the clock. It followed a successful drive downfield orchestrated by quarterback Kaden Barnstable in the dying seconds of the game.
Graham picked up plenty of real estate along the way and repeated attempts at a deep pass came true when Barnstable connected with slotback Hunter Thomson with 1.9 seconds remaining.
Earlier in the game, Jude Kuprey scored the other major for the Bobcats.
Head coach Dustin Paul says they had the momentum coming out of the first half but came out flat in the second to prevent them from bringing the win home.
"If you take away a lot of that sloppiness, I think it would have been a different game," says head coach Dustin Paul. "We definitely had the momentum coming out of halftime, especially with going with that onside kick and recovering it."
"It was a matter of capitalizing on our opportunities when we got them and we fell a little bit short," he continued. "But you know what, we did a lot better this year than we've done in the last decade or so."
Earlier in the season, the Bobcats broke the top ten in Tier III high school football. They reached fifth in the rankings before being pushed up to the tougher Tier II division.
Graham is among the seven grade 12 players who have ended their time with the Bobcats.
It was his second year of football, and he believed he worked hard, stayed locked in, and trained both on and off the field. He says the losses and wins come with sports and it comes down to what you take away from the experience.
"We've definitely been more focussed on the field at practices, and we've come closer together as a team, like a family."
Quarterback Barnstable is in his first season as the team's pivot after wrapping up his minor football with the Bantam Lions.
He says it was a tough loss, but believes it was a good season nonetheless.
"We have a bright future for sure," he says. "It's going to be good."
To the team's benefit is a large roster with younger players returning with a little more experience under their belt. They held an extensive spring training camp, followed by an equally long camp in the fall before the season got underway.
At the final game of the season, the team took a moment to salute their graduating players and their families.
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