Red Deer football player Lucas Fuerbringer hands the ball off to Ethan Briault as Audrin Uy provides a decoy on Wednesday at the Zone 4 Camp for the Alberta Summer Games. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Video: Zone 4 Football Team prepares in Red Deer for Alberta Summer Games

Central Alberta is growing into a hub for young football players and their talent was on display at Notre Dame High School this week.

Thirty-five of the region’s best Bantam players gathered for a week-long camp ahead of the Alberta Summer Games, where they will represent Zone 4.

Zone 4 coach Ian Rattan, who also helped with the Notre Dame Bantam football team that won provincial gold last fall, said the camp is an indication of how much talent is being developed locally.

“We have a great group of kids. This is the fourth time I’ve been involved and every year we have a more talented group of athletes coming out. It’s fantastic to see. Just means the level of football is growing in Central Alberta,” Rattan said.

“Look at what happened in provincials, two Central Alberta teams won medals at Bantam. That’s the age of kids that play in the games. It’s fantastic to see the level of compete and the level of football in Central Alberta– that we can hang with Edmonton and Calgary.”

Bantam age players graduated from Grade 9 in June or lower Grades and will not turn 17 during the calendar year of 2018.

The players were put through the paces this week, with two-a-day practices and an evening activity as a group on top of that. All with the goal in mind of bringing home a medal for the region next weekend in Grande Prairie.

“We want to get better every single game,” Rattan said.

“Our goal is to try and win a gold medal. We have the athletes and the coaching staff is similar to two years ago in 2016… we feel that we know our strengths and weaknesses as coaches. We have the talent and the team to make some noise.”

The Alberta Summer Games take place from July 19-22 in Grande Prairie. Zone 4 will start the games on July 20 when they take on Zone 6. The football final is set for July 22 at 10:30 a.m.

Players on the Zone 4 roster include: Nolan Baragar (Red Deer), Brian Bott (Leslieville), Reuben Braitenback (Sylvan Lake), Ethan Briault (Red Deer), Brett Bylsma, (Sylvan Lake), Colin Buffalo (Wetaskiwin), Dexter Connell (Delburne), Joel DeMale (Red Deer), Kadin Fischbuch (Red Deer), Jaxyn Flunder (Red Deer) Drew Forster (Forestburg), Ty Friss (Red Deer), Dominic Fudge (Red Deer) Lucas Fuerbringer (Red Deer), Bryce George (Erskine), Brody Henry (Sylvan Lake), Nolan Hodder (Rocky Mountain House), Zane Johnson (Sylvan Lake), Samuel Jones (Sylvan Lake), Cole Lardner (Clive), Luke Martin (Stettler), Riley Martinez (Red Deer) Cody Melnychuk (Blackfalds), Carson Mottus (Erskine), Chase Pack (Red Deer), Cody Peever, Sylvan Lake), Ethan Quance (Lacombe), Kaden Schiller (Red Deer), Noah Segal (Camrose), Kieran Sherman (Forestburg), Eric Tomaszewski (Camrose), Audrin Uy (Red Deer), Ethan Waite (Red Deer), Tayler Weller (Sylvan Lake) and Thaedon Wolfe (Camrose).

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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