Handy Sports Rag
|"Serving the Sporting Community of Central Alberta"|
|The High School Sports Beat|
Spartans soar past Hawks
In nature a soaring hawk is usually
successful in pouncing on its prey.
Spartans opening training camp
Ready, set hut; it's football time again.
Lady Spartans rugby
season ends on winning note
If success was measured in determination, dedication and commitment, the Olds
High School lady Spartans' rugby team would always be a winner.
Rugby squads are competitive
Despite playing in a highly rated girls high school rugby league, Olds and Innisfail
are fielding competitive teams.
Bronze medals awarded to Spartan
wrestlers at Alberta Open
Three Olds Spartans' wrestlers were awarded bronze medals at the Alberta
wrestling championships held in High River this past weekend.
Lady Spartans heading to zones
When the Olds Spartans' senior girls' basketball team heads
to the southern zone
playoffs scheduled for Strathmore from March 10-12, they should be at the height
Using a full court press against Camrose, the Spartans
displayed an aggresive defence
and for the most part kept Camrose's high octane offence at bay throughout
longer push overs
At one time, the Olds High School Spartans'
wrestling club was considered to
be push overs; not any more.
Spartans capture West Cental Rocky tournament
Playing perhaps their best basketball of the season, the Olds Spartans Sr. Girls
hitting the mats
twenty female and male Olds Spartans' grappers are hitting the
mats in anticipation
of upcoming wrestling matches scheduled for the University of Alberta
honor football players
A very successful season for the Olds Spartans, members of the Big Sky Football Conference, came to an end on Thursday, Dec. 8 when the team handed out their year end awards at the Royal Canadian Legion.
For the graduating players it marked the conclusion
of a three year tenure with the Spartans and for the returning warriors
it is the beginning
of a new season.
"When we held our first practice back in August, the players set a goal of making the play offs and they accomplished this," Grant added.
With several rookie players in the line-up, Grant realized it would be a season of transition as most of the new players were graduates of the Rotary Bantam Bulldogs.
Although the season started on a losing note, the players came together mid-way through the schedule and they qualified for the play offs.
By virtue of a loss to the powerful Black Diamond Riggers in post season, the season came to an end for seven graduating players.
"Our graduating players were an important part of the team," said Grant, noting the players were veterans of three seasons.
"Some of these players never played organized football before high school and their transition into really good football players has never been overlooked," Grant noted.
Towards the end of the season, university football scouts became interested in Spartan players and as a result some players will be trying out for the University of Calgary Dinos.
"Because we had the interest from the University of Calgary, our football program has gained the respect of the other teams in the Big Sky football Conference," said Grant.
"It also says a lot about our players athletic ability and their work effort and dedication to the game," said Grant.
Grant noted the Spartans work closely with the Rotary Bantam Bulldogs as most of the rookie players have some experience with the Bulldogs.
"They (Bulldogs) have an excellent program and we're excited when their graduating players try out for the Spartans," Grant added.
"Every season the Spartans' football program has seen improvement and this is mostly due to what the players have learned playing Bantam football," Grant added.
Although there is an adjustment for the rookie players into high school football, they usually feel comfortable playing with a twelve man roster as compared to the nine man game implemented in Bantam football.
"When graduates of the Bulldogs enter high school football they have the
knowledge and the experience playing organized football," Grant said.
With a veteran team suiting up next year, Grant feels the Spartans could possibly be a contender for league honors.
"Since most of our offence was made up of rookie players this season, we should be an offensive threat next year," Grant added.
Besides individual awards from the Spartans, a presentation was made to the players receiving league all-star honors.
This year the Spartans placed seven players on the all-star roster. These included, Tuen VandenBroek,, defensive back; Lee M cKay, defensive lineman; Quinton Warawa, defensive lineman; Liam Reed, kicker, punter, receiver, running back and quarterback; and Derek Olson, running back.
"Because the all-star awards are selected by the league coaches, being named
as an all-star is quite an accomplishment for these players," Grant
Top Defensive Player was awarded to David Ehrmann with quarterback, Joe Crawford and punter, kicker running back Liam Reed sharing the top Offensive Player award.
Meanwhile two players, defensive lineman, Dan Cline and running back Joshua Holgerson were named the Player Contributing The Most With The Least amount of Recognition.
Middle linebacker, Matt Vandale
was named the Most Valuable Player.
finish second again
By Barry Williams
For the second year in a row, the Olds Rotary Bantam Bulldogs have
placed second in the Central Alberta Football League
Last week the Bulldogs played two playoff games. In the semi-final game
played last Wednesday, Oct. 26, the Bull Dogs defeated Hunting Hills
14-12 which automatically qualified them for the championship game
against Notre Dame, who defeated the Bulldogs 24-14 in Red Deer on
Saturday, Oct. 30.
Although the Bulldogs took a bite out of Hunting Hills, it proved
to be a very costly game as they lost two quarterbacks due to injury,
Tony Hammer and Tyler Jenkins which meant the coaching staff had just a
couple of days to train Taylor Grenier for the position.
"Both injuries to our quarterbacks happened at the end of tackles
and were not dirty plays," said Bulldogs head coach Garth Dagg,
noting injuries are part of the game.
"Our coaching staff didn't have much time to get Grenier ready for
the game but they did the best they could considering the
circumstances," Dagg said.
Although Dagg failed to blame the quarterback injuries for the outcome
of the championship game, he did note the game could have been closer if
either injured quarterback could have played.
Dagg indicated the game against Hunting Hills kept the fans on the edge
of their seats as the outcome was not known until the final buzzer
"This game was more exciting then last year's championship,"
With a new signal caller, Dagg thought the Bulldogs would experience
problems moving the ball downfield but the direct opposite happened.
"Actually I was surprised at how easily we moved the ball against
them," Dagg added.
According to Dagg, Notre Dame had the best defense in the league and
were capable of stopping the opposition regardless if they moved the
ball on the ground or through the air.
"Because of the quarterback situation we ran a fairly basic offence
with just four different plays in our playbook," said Dagg.
Judging from the first half of play, it looked as if Notre Dame was
going to walk away with the game as they held a commanding 14-0 half
"Our defense played extremely well and they certainly gave the
offence a chance to win the game," Dagg added.
For the most part, the Bulldogs kept the ball on the ground. However
when they had the opportunity to cross into Nortre Dame's end zone their
attack was snuffed out.
At half time, Notre Dame held a comfortable 18-0 lead.
During the half time intermission, the Bulldogs made some adjustment to
the offensive attack and it proved to be rewarding as the Bulldogs
scored their first touchdown mid way through the third quarter closing
the margin to 18-7.
And when the fourth quarter commenced the Bulldogs moved the ball
downfield scoring another touchdown. As a result of the touch down they
were back in the game taking care of the momentum.
"We put a scare into them when we scored our second touch down,
" Dagg said.
With another season in the record books, Dagg will start to concentrate
on next year and he believes another competitive team will be put on the
"If all of our first year players return next year we will have a
very strong team," Dagg concluded.
defeat Spartans in playoff battle
By Barry Williams
For the second consecutive year the Black Diamond Oilfields Drillers
have defeated the Olds Spartans in Big Sky Football Conference playoff
Playing in Black Diamond on Saturday, Oct. 30, the Drillers held off a
late surge by the Spartans to earn a hard fought 13-8 victory.
Once again it was a game within a game as both teams dominated one half of
playing time. In the first half, the Drillers built up a 13-0 half time
lead while in the second half the Spartans closed the gap by scoring a
touchdown and a single point on a missed field goal.
One of the Drillers' touchdowns was came on a long downfield march while
the other the Spartans coverage broke down as the Drillers returned a
Again it was a game of breaks, as the Drillers were able to capitalize on
two Spartans' mistakes while the Spartans failed to convert a drive on a
fumble recovery early in the third quarter.
On the Spartans' major score, quarterback Joey Crawford hit Liam Reed on a
twenty yard pass and run play.
"We were able to move the ball on most of our plays from scrimmage
but when we were near the Drillers' goal line we were unable to punch the
ball into the end zone," said Spartans' head coach, George Grant.
"They (Drillers) have a very good defense who react quickly to the
ball," said Grant.
In an effort to confuse the Drillers' defensive line backers, the Spartans
mixed their plays up along the ground and through the air. During practice
last week, the offensive coaching staff introduced some new plays which
they thought would pick the Drillers' offence a part.
"We had good luck throwing the ball in the second half," said
Grant, indicating the Spartans made an adjustment to the offensive plays
during half time.
According to Grant, the Drillers defensive line backers are excellent in
breaking up throwing plays as they always have close coverage against
"Their line backers are excellent tacklers and when we were able to
complete a pass the yards gained after the catch were very little,"
"I think if we would have had more time to work on our offensive
plays at practices it could have been a different game," Grant noted.
Despite being eliminated from post season play, Grant is very proud of the
way his players played during the season.
"Our defense was mainly veteran players and anyone could tell they
were experienced at their positions," said Grant
"One thing we worked extremely hard at this year was our pass
coverage," Grant said.
"For the most part, the Spartans' defensive coverage caught the eye
of opposition coaches as most commented on how difficult it was to air the
ball out against them.
"It is unfortunate, we will be losing most of our defense due to
graduation," commented Grant.
"Our defensive line was pretty big and mobile and they were able to
open wholes in order to put pressure on the opposing quarterbacks,"
If there was a drawback to the defensive core it was the smaller size of
the line backers.
"All of the returning defensive players know they have to become
stronger and they have vowed to work on their conditioning over the
winter," added Grant.
With a totally new offensive backfield, the offence experienced some
problems moving the ball early in the season but by time the time playoffs
rolled along they had a decent playbook to work on.
"Although most of our new offensive players had experience with the
Bantam Bulldogs, it took them time in adjusting to the quicker pace of
high school football," said Grant.
To add speed and diversity to the offensive backfield, Liam Reed was moved
from quarterback to tail back. Most of the plays from scrimmage were
called by rookie quarterback Joe Crawford.
"For the most part, I was pleased with the play of Crawford,"
"Once he (Crawford) became comfortable in using our playbook and
reading the defensive formations he showed steady improvement."
With the departure of Reed, the Spartans will be looking for a new
offensive speedster and a place kicker.
With this year in the books, the Spartans will start to prepare for next
year in December by being involved with weight training. Spring Camp will
open in mid May and fall camp at the end of August.
heading into playoffs
By Barry Williams
For the third consecutive year, the Olds Spartans are heading into the
Big Sky Football Conference playoffs.
On Sat. Oct 23 in their final game of the season, the Spartans
solidified their post season appearance by defeating Rimbey 30-8.
Despite dominating the game on both sides of the ball, Spartans' head
coach, George Grant indicated the game failed to reflect the scoreboard.
"Actually it was a very good football game," Grant said,
noting the Spartans were prepared for the Rimbey squad.
"Although Rimbey has yet to win a league game they can't be taken
lightly," said Grant.
"We prepared for them like we do every team in this league,"
added Grant, indicating the Spartans had an excellent week of practices.
According to Grant, Rimbey was probably the most improved team in the
"They are very well coached, have some excellent athletes and I
suspect they will have a breakout season next year," Grant noted.
And Grant and the Spartan players can identify with Rimbey's situation
as they had a tough two years when they entered league play.
In the past three years, Grant has seen the Spartans grow into a league
contender and he credits the athletic ability of the players for the
"Some of the players were playing the game for the very first time
this season," said Grant.
And with the majority of rookies suiting up for the offence Grant was
somewhat cautious in predicting their future on the field.
When the Spartans broke training camp, Grant was certain the offence
would take time in coming together as a unit. However, with the
assistance of the few returning offensive players, all the rookies
worked extremely hard, were students of the game and at times played
with a bit of an edge.
Throughout the entire season Grant noticed improvement on both sides of
the ball and he believes the Spartans can be a threat in the playoffs
"Last year in the playoffs we lost to Black Diamond in a thrilling
game," said Grant.
"Because of last year's experience, our veteran players learned
more about the game and they are willing to prepare our new recruits for
this year's playoffs," added Grant.
With a veteran defensive squad, the Spartans were one of the best
defensive teams in the league this season and Grant feels their maturity
will come forward in post season play.
"our defensive line is big and mobile while the linebackers are
quick and excellent tacklers," said Grant.
"What surprised me this year was their ability to read the play
regardless of the different formations the opposing offence used,"
Offensively, the Spartans were led by a rookie quarterback, Joe
Crawford, who was flanked by largely by rookie running backs and veteran
"Because Crawford was such a good Bantam quarterback with the
Bulldogs the past two seasons can't say I was surprised by his
improvement this season," said Grant.
In the huddle, Crawford had the assistance of last year's signal caller,
Liam Reed, who switched to halfback to give the Spartans speed in their
backfield. Reed also doubled as the team's place kicker.
"He (Reed) has a strong leg and is fairly accurate," said
Grant noting Reed made several crucial field goals in league play.
With the league operating with north and south divisions this
year, the teams cross over for the playoffs.
Although the south division had some larger schools, Grant indicated the
caliber of all the teams is fairly even so he expects the playoffs to be
Post season play commences this weekend.
take a bite out of the Cougars
By Barry Williams
Never under estimate the bite of a bulldog even if you're a cougar.
In Central Alberta Minor Football League action played in Olds, on Oct.15, the
Bantam Rotary Bulldogs continued their winning ways by defeating the Notre
Dame Cougars 28-14 in a game played in Olds.
It was a game within a game as the first half was dominated by the Bulldogs
and the second half belonged to the Cougars.
When the teams headed to their dressing rooms at the end of the second
quarter, the Bulldogs held a convincing 21-0 lead.
Throughout the entire first half the Bulldogs controlled the play, racking up
yardage along the ground against the Cougars defensive core.
In fact the Bulldogs scored a touchdown on their first play from scrimmage and
they never looked back.
On their second possession of the ball, they marched the ball downfield over
80 yards for another major score. When they took the ball over on their
third series of downs, the Bulldogs started within the shadow of the goal
posts and marched downfield to rack up another touchdown.
Although they were never cocky about their massive 21-0 lead at half time, the
Bulldogs were outplayed in the third quarter as the Cougars fought back
closing the point spread to just seven points by the start of the fourth
Trailing 21-14 heading into the final quarter, the Cougars pressured the
Bulldogs at the line of scrimmage and were starting to regain the momentum
which they took over in the third quarter by scoring their points as a result
of Bulldogs' turn overs.
A Bulldogs' touchdown midway through the fourth quarter provided the margin of
victory for the Bulldogs.
Although this was the first meeting between the two teams, Bulldogs' coach
Garth Dagg felt the Cougars would try to air the ball out on any occasion in
the second half, their passing attack was nullified by the Bulldogs'
strong pass coverage.
"Our coaching staff thought the Cougars would try to move the ball
through the air so our emphasis on the defensive side of the ball was working
on pass coverage, said Bulldogs' coach, Garth Dagg.
For the most part, Dagg was pleased with the Bulldogs pass coverage noting the
defensive backs kept themselves between the receiver and the Cougars'
To make things a bit more complicated, the Cougars quarterback was a south paw
so the passing plays were a direct opposite of what the Bulldogs were
practicing all week long.
I thought our defense adjusted quite well to their quarterback," said
"Our defensive coverage by our cornerbacks and halfbacks was very tight
throughout the entire game," added Dagg.
Offensively, the Bulldogs were allowed to run the ball with authority and
their running attack punished the Cougars' defensive core.
Most of the Bulldogs' running attack included end around sweeps and
"We have some very fast running backs and the coaching staff feels if our
offensive line can spring them around the end and into some open field they
will be very effective," Dagg said.
"Our offensive line was able to clear holes for the halfbacks and as a
result we had some impressive runs through the middle," Dagg added.
Although the bulldogs impressive win was a blowout on the scoreboard, the
action on the field failed to reflect the score.
"They (Cougars) started to move the ball in the third quarter and took
the momentum away from us," said Dagg.
"When they scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, our players didn't
panic and eventually we regained the momentum and held it until the end of the
game," Dagg noted.
Last year the Bulldogs won the league championship and Dagg feels they stand an excellent chance at reclaiming league honors when this year's post season play rolls along.
developing rivalry with Drillers
By Barry Williams
A rivalry between the Oilfields Sr. Drillers and the Olds Spartans, both
members of the Big Sky Football Conference, was re-united on Sat. Oct.
15 in Olds.
In a battle of two defensive minded teams, the Drillers emerged with a
15-7 victory over the Spartans.
Throughout the entire contest, the defense of both teams was dominant as
both offences were faced with a three and out situation.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Drillers scored both of their
touchdowns in the second quarter while the Spartans managed to post
their points in the third quarter.
When the teams' offences were able to gain yardage in the middle
of the field, they sputtered when they hit the oppositions twenty-five
Both teams had their chances to punch the ball into the end zone but in
most cases the drives were shut down because of turnovers either as
fumbles, interceptions or being stopped on third down gambles.
"We knew Olds had a very good defense and I wasn't surprised we had
trouble moving the ball against them," said Drillers coach Mark
"They are extremely tough to run against as they have a dominant
defensive line," said Vanderveen.
When the Drillers running backs thought they had a hole to gain yardage
through, it was quickly filled by the Spartans' defensive linebackers.
Although the Drillers managed to score a couple of touchdowns their
offensive yardage was limited. One of the Drillers romp to the end zone
came off an interception while the other one was a direct result of a
very long punt return.
Meanwhile, the Spartans only major came late in the third quarter when
they faked a field goal.
With the Drillers win, they went above the 500 mark for the first time
this year with a record of four wins against three defeats.
The loss for the Spartans was also their third of the year and moved
their season stats to four wins against three defeats.
And with the restructuring of the Big Sky Football Conference into a
north and south division, there is a chance of the two teams meeting in
the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Last year in the post
season play, the Drillers defeated the Spartans 39-33.
Because the two teams are so evenly matched, Vanderveen believes a
re-match between the teams in post season play would provide for an
interesting game as the teams have developed a rivalry.
"I'd like to see a rematch of last year's playoff game,"
Meanwhile, Spartans head coach George Grant was satisfied with the
Spartans effort although they were on the short end of the scoreboard..
"Give our players credit, they never gave up and battled to
the end of the game," Grant said.
According to Grant, the Spartans made some adjustments at half time and
they were better prepared to play in the second half.
"The Drillers use a lot of play action from the line of scrimmage
and for the most part our defense was patient letting the play develop
before they attacked," said Grant.
"Overall, our defense played well and they can't be blamed for this
loss," added Grant.
Offensively, the Spartans were able to move the ball along the ground
but struggled with the passing game,
"Their defense will let the opposing team run against them but the
yardage gained is usually short, a few yards here and a few yards
there," Grant said.
When the Spartans tried to air the ball out, the long bomb was
taken away from them largely due to the tight coverage of the Drillers
"Their pass coverage was better than ours and I believe this was
the difference in the game," Grant noted.
This week the Spartans tangle with Rimbey and Grant is not taking them
"Although Rimbey has struggled this year they have excellent coaching and are due for a breakout game," Grant noted.
prepared for home opener
By Barry Williams
After playing three games on the road to commence the 2005 Big Sky
Football Conference league action, the Olds Spartans are eager and
prepared for their home opener scheduled for Sat. Sept. 24 against the
It will be the second match-up for the grid iron warriors and fans can
expect an exciting game. In their first game between the clubs in Hanna,
the Spartans came home with a victory.
"Hanna has always been a powerhouse in the league and I am almost
certain they will be seeking revenge for our early season win
against them ," said Spartans' Head Coach, George Grant.
In their first game against Hanna, the Spartans received an outstanding
effort from the defensive core and Grant is expecting another
stellar effort from his linebackers.
"In our first game with Hanna, our defensive linebackers were able
to penetrate the offensive line and put pressure on their
quarterback," Grant said.
Every year, Hanna has been able to put together an explosive offence by
implementing play action from the line of scrimmage and it appears
their playbook still has some razzle dazzle in it.
"Although we have seen Hanna once this year, I don't expect the
same team to show up when they play us at home," Grant said.
"They are very well coached and I suspect they have made some
offensive changes," said Grant.
But at the same time, the Spartans have been working extremely hard to
prepare themselves for the second meeting against the Hawks and
Grant is pleased with the way the Spartans have jelled together.
"Playing three games on the road hasn't hurt us at all," added
"In fact, it has helped as our veteran players have built a
friendship with the first year players and the comradery between all the
players is very very good," explained Grant.
This past week, the Spartans journeyed to Rimbey and came away with a
Despite having a very young inexperienced team, Grant indicated Rimbey
has improved considerably and they can't be taken as the weak sisters of
the league anymore.
"Rimbey has made significant strides in their football program and
they are now a very competitive team," Grant added.
"I was quite surprised with their play, they have improved
considerably since last season," Grant said.
During the game, the Spartans were afforded with the opportunity of
playing every member on the roster.
"Frankly, I was quite surprised at the way our first year players
played during this game," Grant added.
And with the depth on the bench, Grant is convinced the Spartans will
have competitive teams for the next two to three years.
"Some players didn't play as much as others but it gave them an
opportunity to show the coaches what they can do in a game
situation," Grant noted.
Rookie quarterback, Hudson Rielly was able to play a full quarter and
Grant was pleased with his play.
"He (Rielly) was able to move the ball along the ground and through
the air," Grant added.
Last year, Rielly played with the Bantam Rotary Bulldogs so he is not
unfamiliar with the game.
According to Grant, most of the rookie players on the Spartans'
roster this season graduated from the Bantam Rotary Bulldogs.
"They (Bulldogs) have an excellent football program and when their
graduating players take the step into the Spartans' line-up they usually
fit in right away," said Grant.
Prior to the Spartans' game on Saturday, the Bulldogs will take to the
field at 11a.m., so football fans will be able to see both football
teams in action on the same day.
iron warriors defending the turf
By Barry Williams
They may not be as famous as the Canadian Football League stars but to
many residents of Olds they are true warriors, defenders of the turf.
Last week, the Olds High School Spartans commenced play in the Big Sky
Football Conference with two road games against Drumheller and Hanna.
Against Drumheller on Sept. 2, the Spartans ran into a high octane
offensive threat as Drumheller defeated the Spartans 30-10.
Although the score was a bit lopsided, Spartans Head Coach, George
Grant, indicated the scoreboard didn't reflect the game on the field.
"We didn't get the right bounces in the game," said Grant.
"They scored a couple of touchdowns on turnovers in the second half
and it proved to be the difference in the game," Grant added.
According to Grant, the Spartans played excellent in the first half as
Drumheller held a three point lead heading into the intermission.
"They made some adjustments to their offence during the
intermission and we weren't prepared for their changes," Grant
Although the Spartans failed to pick up two points in Drumheller, Grant
indicated the game was a learning experience for his players, especially
for the offence.
Heading into the new season, the Spartans were forced to re-organize
their offensive backfield as some key positions were contested for by
first year players.
"I thought it would take some time before our offence would begin
to jell, but I was surprised," Grant said.
Despite lacking playing time together, Grant indicated the offensive
line-up is comprised of players with a lot of heart and what they lack
in playing experience at the high school football level is made up with
their eagerness to learn more about the game, dedication and work ethic.
"I can't say enough about our first year players, they're all
excellent athletes," added Grant, indicating as the year progresses
they will become better.
Joe Crawford has moved into the quarterback position and last year's
signal caller, Liam Reid, has taken up a spot as a running back.
With the departure of Carter Hammer from the team, Grant realized he
needed a running back with speed and the ability to gain significant
"I think he (Liam Reid) will become a dominant running back,"
For Crawford, playing quarterback is a natural position for him as he
has had experience with it as a member of the Bantam Rotary Bulldogs.
In Hanna, the Spartans faced an experienced team as the Hawks have been
past league champions and have qualified for the playoffs ever since the
Big Sky Football Conference was formed.
According to Grant, the defensive struggle against Hanna surprised him
as the Hawks have always fielded teams with an explosive offence.
"I didn't think their offence played badly, our defense played
better than they did in Drumheller," noted Grant.
"Anytime a team can come home from Hanna with a victory, they've
done something right," Grant said.
Hanna often implements play action in most of their play from scrimmage
and if the opposing defence is not patient they can be burned on almost
Grant indicated the defensive core pressured Hanna's quarterback
throughout the entire game and because of this he was forced to get rid
of the ball early thus eliminating their control of the game through the
"Hanna has always had excellent receivers and they can burn the
opposing team's defense with the long ball, " said Grant noting,
the Spartans defensive coverage on the Hanna receivers was extremely
tight throughout the entire game.
"We didn't give them the opportunity to throw a long bomb and as a
result the only yardage they picked up through the air was very very
short," Grant said.
Grant will live with the split in their first two games but realizes if
the Spartans are going to be successful they have to show improvement in
each and every game.
This week the Spartans travel to Rimbey for an encounter and will open their home schedule on Sat. Sept. 24 against Hanna.