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LT Raiders senior football program hoping to make some noise

Major growth is raising optimism
The Lindsay Thurber Raiders are looking to make some noise this season. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

A year and a half ago when the Lindsay Thurber High School football team’s new coaching staff took over they had just 25 players prior to the season.

Since then, the coaching staff led by the Raiders senior head coach Ole Stearns, both the senior and junior programs have a combined 100 players.

Stearns explained the growth was a result of the coaches helping kids believe in themselves and believe that they are part of a team.

“We challenged them to give new ideas a reason to work, not a reason not to work,” Stearns said. “They’ve all bought into it and it’s been wonderful.”

He added the excitement around the team and what they’ve built has raised the curiosity of new players. That optimism has encouraged more kids to give it a try.

“We’ve been involved in the community doing volunteer work. We’ve challenged the kids not only to grow on the field but in their classrooms. The support we’re getting from the teachers and the admin is wonderful,” he said.

The Raiders open their season on Friday night against the Hunting Hills Lightning at Setters Place at 7 p.m.

Stearns said preparation has gone quite well and they’re where they want to be heading into the matchup.

“We’ve had a couple of exhibition games against some Tier I teams and we’re looking forward to it,” he said.

Their mindset heading into this season is to continue to improve. After losing a majority of their games in 2022, the Raiders can only go one direction and that’s forward.

“We don’t have eyes in the back of our head. We only see what’s going forward so we’re going to try to make some noise,” he said.

The goal is simple. To compete every week at the highest level they can and let the chips fall where they may. In the meantime, they’ll treat every game like it’s an important matchup.

The Raiders are returning the majority of their squad from last season. After only losing six players to graduation, Lindsay Thurber will field a veteran team consisting of 20 Grade 12s, 20 Grade 11s, and 20 Grade 10s.

“Our coaching staff, admin, and off-field staff is phenomenal and what we have to offer on the field is a well-balanced attack on both sides of the ball, including special teams,” Stearns said.

The Hunting Hills Lightning fell short of a league title last season after losing to the Stettler Wildcats in the zone championship.

With that in mind, Stearns said getting to play the Lightning in week one is a great challenge for his team.

“I want to thank the kids for what they’ve put in during the offseason because they’ve really improved and they’re taking it seriously.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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