Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate Staff -- photo for Josh's story -- H.J. Cody Lakers running back Landon Rosene is one of three Central Alberta high school football players on Team Alberta for the Canada Cup. They were practicing at MEGlobal Athletic Park in Lacombe on Saturday afternoon.

Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate Staff -- photo for Josh's story -- H.J. Cody Lakers running back Landon Rosene is one of three Central Alberta high school football players on Team Alberta for the Canada Cup. They were practicing at MEGlobal Athletic Park in Lacombe on Saturday afternoon.

Local players hope Team Alberta experience lands them future looks

While this year the goal is winning the Football Canada Cup, three local players on Team Alberta have their eye squarely on their future post high school. The best high school football players in the province in Grades 10 and 11 were in Red Deer and Lacombe on the weekend for Football Alberta’s main training camp for their U-18 team.

While this year the goal is winning the Football Canada Cup, three local players on Team Alberta have their eye squarely on their future post high school.

The best high school football players in the province in Grades 10 and 11 were in Red Deer and Lacombe on the weekend for Football Alberta’s main training camp for their U-18 team.

As the University of Alberta Golden Bears head coach Chris Morris pointed out to them on Saturday at MEGlobal Athletic Park, playing on this team will put the likes of Lindsay Thurber Raiders Ben Pasiuk and Owen Smith, and H.J. Cody’s Landon Rosene at the top of the recruiting list for many Canadian Interuniversity Sport programs.

“It’s a big deal for us, especially being from Central Alberta,” said Smith. “We’re getting looks now because the level of play in Central Alberta is getting a lot better, thanks to all of the coaches in Central Alberta. It’s a very good opportunity for us.”

The team will travel to Saskatoon for the Canada Cup July 6-12, where they will play against the best players in country of the same age. The last three years Alberta has earned its place among the top provinces in the country in high school football, making it to the finals in each of the last three years. The goal this year is to get over the hump and win it all.

“We’re here to win a championship,” said head coach Bryan Bradford. “We’ve got to get to the game, one game at a time, but our expectation is we’re going to win it all this year.”

But it will be tricky. They do have some big hurdles in the way like time constraints, their ability to install systems and plays and then to get everyone on the same page working together when most have never played together at all.

Central Alberta, however, is making one of its strongest contributions that the region has ever made, especially on offence.

With Rosene, they have one of the region’s most dynamic running backs. He may not have prototypical size, at five-foot-five and 145 pounds, but he’s tough to catch and is versatile enough to be able to carry the rock and is a reliable option to catch the ball out of the backfield.

He was named the most valuable offensive player Central Alberta High School Football League this past season.

“He’s outstanding,” said Bradford. “He’s got great speed, and the thing with him is he’s got great vision. We really see him contributing to our return game and as a back out of the back field, he’s going to sneak in behind our big offensive line and I think he’s going to have a great tournament.”

He’s just looking forward to the opportunity to leave his mark on the team.

“It’s awesome, I love playing with elite players like these and competing for nationals,” said Rosene.

Pasiuk appears to have an line as one of the starting receivers on the team, with his five-foot-11, 180-pound frame, he emerged as a breakout star for the Raiders this season as a Grade 10 player.

“Ben’s just a great athlete,” said team general manager Gino Castellan, who is also the head coach of the Notre Dame Cougars. “He’s a pure athlete and he’s a smart kid, academically he smart as well. He brings skill and he’s very balanced in the knowledge of the game.”

Pasiuk, 16, says they should have a dynamic offence at the Canada Cup despite the short preparation time.

“It’s going to be high tempo and physical, we’re going to exploit our speed and just go play football,” he said.

Smith is the lone local representative on the defensive side of the ball, but the five-foot-11, 155-pound safety should see plenty of time on the field as a CAHSFL all-star this year,

“He’s a very talented player,” said Bradford. “He’s getting some great coaching here and he’s going to get a lot stronger, but he fits in right with what we want our defensive backs to do.”

Smith, 17, says the defense will rely on their athleticism to shut down opponents in Saskatoon.

“We’re going to be fast and play every down hard and we’re going to show some teams how to play physical,” he said.

Central Alberta will also have an impact on the offensive line with Hunting Hills Lightning head coach Kyle Sedgewick running the unit. Castellan likes what he has seen so far.

“They’re coming together, which is another reason we run this main camp, to get these kids to know each other and come together as a group,” he said. “We’re a well rounded team this year … we’ve got good athletes all over the place.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Most Read