It was a sombre end to the season for Sylvan Lake Lions bantam football team, who were defeated by Lacombe Raiders in a tough game Saturday.
The game, which saw the Lions defeated by a large margin, marked the end to what has otherwise been a good season, according to head coach John Kriekle.
“I’m proud of the guys. They worked hard all year,” he said.
The Lions knew before the game that they would be up against a challenge as they faced a strong Lacombe team, said Kriekle. After falling behind early, however, they simply couldn’t find their way back into the game, and weren’t able to stop Lacombe’s momentum.
“It was not a good day on the football field,” he said.
Nonetheless, a number of players proved their strong spirit during the game, and refused to concede defeat, he added.
One such player was Justin Fedun.
“(Fedun) played well all season, and he didn’t let himself get down,” he said.
The loss against Lacombe was just the Lions’ second of the season. Including their playoff win against Notre Dame last week, they won six games this season — something they can be proud of, according to Kriekle.
Talent-wise, this year’s team is one of the best he has had during his time as coach.
He described his players not only as the “best group of kids”, but also as the “best group of athletes”.
With an even mix of new and returning players, the 34-player roster the Lions had this year was much larger than that of last year.
The Lions usually have a roster of about 18 players, according to Kriekle.
“I think we’ve got 18 coming back next year, so we should be pretty good next year,” he said.