Football Alberta has announced the roster of Team Alberta for the Under-18 2022 Football Canada Cup in Kelowna from July 9 to 17.
The roster consists of high school players from across the province including two from Hunting Hills High School in Red Deer, defensive lineman Aaron Brewster, and defensive back Cohen Gardiner.
Alberta will open the tournament ranked third overall and play against British Columbia at 7 p.m. on July 11.
Hunting Hills High School football coach Kyle Sedgwick, who is also the quarterback’s coach and offensive coordinator of Team Alberta said the 40-man roster was narrowed down to 500 players looking to make the team.
“It’s exceptional. I’m very proud of those guys. They’ve improved their football skills quite a bit in a short amount of time considering they’re both Grade 11 students they didn’t have a Grade 10 season due to COVID-19,” he said.
Sedgwick has been involved in Team Alberta programs for years dating back from 2011 to 2015 he was the offensive line coach for Alberta at the Canada Cup. And in 2017 and 2018 was the offensive line coach for the Under-16 team before moving to the under-18 team in 2019.
“I thoroughly enjoy it I mean It’s a tremendous commitment and It’s a time commitment. It’s a stressful situation you know Alberta always expects to compete for a gold medal and do well and now every province is kind of in the same boat having to restart things here after not having a tryout for two years,” he added.
”It really helps me develop as a coach. You’re coaching basically the elite players in their age group across the country from all eight provinces that are competing and are doing so In a short amount of time so you have to kind of change your coaching style a little bit and how you install things.”
The opportunity to play in the Football Canada Cup for these players heading into their senior years of high school. Sedgwick said most universities and colleges in Canada that have a football program will be at this event to scout talent.
“It’s a tremendous amount of exposure for these young men and they start to gain an understanding of how the process of recruiting works beyond high school and that gives them their Grade 12 season and then they’re able to make a decision once they finish that,” he said.
“The goal of the tournament, other than to have a national championship and showcase the top talent in the country is for junior and university programs to start to identify these guys if they haven’t done so already.”
There is also a second under-18 team who will be going to the 2022 U18 Football Canada West Challenge tournament consisting of a second roster made up of younger players from the camp who can gain experience to try out for the Football Canada Cup roster next year.
Three players from Hunting Hills made the roster including defensive backs Ethan Bilo, and Riley Easton as well as quarterback Marek Silipek. There is also Grade 10 player from Lacombe named Adnesse Pannendecker who made wide receiver.
Meanwhile, a third Team Alberta was formed for the 2022 U16 Football Canada West Challenge. This team has central Alberta players such as Grade 9 players Jacob Patterson and Michael Roberge, offensive linemen from Hunting Hills.