Skip to content

Notre Dame Cougars ready to kick off football season, host provincials

Kick off days away
The Notre Dame Cougars senior football program begins the season on Friday against the Lacombe Rams. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

It’s that time of the year again.

As the leaves change colour, the days get shorter, and kids go back to school. But it also marks the beginning of high school football season.

The senior Notre Dame Cougars have been counting down the days since they were eliminated from provincials last season but this year is a golden opportunity for the program.

The Cougars will host the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Football Alberta Bowl in November where all tier levels in the province will compete for their respective provincial championships at Setter’s Place.

Head coach Ian Rattan said they put in a bid for it last year and having a great facility like Setter’s Place was a key selling point.

“It’s a facility we wanted to showcase for the province and we were successful,” he said. “We’re hopeful it gets in the rotation and Red Deer gets to host provincials every four or five years.”

Rattan said through exhibition games they’ve seen improvement on both sides of the ball from last season. Despite losing some key players Rattan and the coaching staff are excited for the season.

This year they’re bringing in 25 Grade 10 players, some of whom played for Team Alberta over the summer.

The newcomers were also a part of the Bantam Cougars team that went all the way to the provincial final last year and lost. Prior to the loss, the team held an undefeated record.

“It’s awesome to bring all of those kids up and hopefully it starts a trend where all of our bantam kids come up to the high school,” he said.

“I think it’s huge to have a group of kids come in that got to go through a provincial run and didn’t quite get to the finish… I’m really excited with the trajectory of our program but we’ll know more as the season goes on.”

They also have a strong group of 23 returning Grade 11s and 12s that put in work over the summer.

“We’re excited to potentially have a better finish than last year,” he said.

“Based on what we’ve seen so far we have kids who are bought into the system and the culture of getting one per cent better every day.

“We’ve seen a lot of improvement since we started and as long as we keep working hard we’ll be happy with the finished product at the end of the season.”

On Friday, Sept. 15 the Cougars open up the season in Lacombe against the Rams at 5 p.m.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun just to get the season started.”

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.
Read more