It's 4:30 am and for the football team from Zone 2 its time to get out of bed and start getting ready for the day. On any normal day these young athletes would be hard pressed to get up this early in the morning, not today though. The kickoff for the Bronze medal final at the 2018 Alberta Summer Games is at 8 am. Time to get up and go win a Bronze Medal!
Game 3 Bronze Medal Final: (Zone 2 ) Big Country vs Parkland (Zone 4)
From the opening kickoff, the Parkland team overwhelmed Big Country scoring a touchdown on the opening drive. This has been the story for the entire tournament though and Big Country was not fazed at all. Their opponent has scored first in all 3 games of the tournament. They would answer right away with a touchdown of their own by Liam McKeage.
"McKeage has been a star for us all tournament." Chris Glass said. "We have some very talented running backs this year. Both Michael Schaan, and Chase Hunt were exceptional as well."
Both teams defenses would tighten up and keep the score 7-6 going into halftime. During halftime Parkland and Big Country spent most of the time making adjustments and trying to get their offenses rolling. Parkland would solve the puzzle first and strike twice in the third quarter to bring the score to 20-6.
With time winding down in the 4th quarter. Big Country found themselves facing a 3rd and long situation. Glass knew it was time to take a risk to change the flow of the game. They called a fake punt and Michael Schaan took the ball 55 yards to the end zone, bringing the score to 20-12. Unfortunately they missed the point after attempt.
Down 8 points and with momentum on their side. Big Countries defense shut down Parkland to give their offense one more shot to tie the game up. Liam McKeage and the Big Country offense stepped onto the field and never looked back. McKeage would score his second touchdown of the game off a screen pass from Skelton to make the score 20-18. McKeage would than top the comeback off scoring the 2 point conversion to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Big Country won the toss and gave Parkland the ball first in overtime. Parkland scored on their drive and went for the two point conversion and missed it bringing the score to 26-20. Big Countries offense would get their opportunity to win the game and they executed perfectly. Michael Schaan would score the touchdown to tie the game up and Logan Kenyon nailed the point after attempt. Game Over Big Country Wins!!
This is the third time Glass has coached for zone 2 and his first as the head coach. It was a bittersweet feeling when the game ended.
"It was one of those games that you will never forget" Glass said. " There was so many big plays made in this game. The toe drag catch on a third and long made by Landon Reed was one of the best catches I have ever seen. I'm excited that we won the game but sad that it is over. This group has been a pleasure to work with and unfortunately the ride is over."
Big Country also played the game without defensive leader Jack Dutton. He suffered an upper body injury in the first quarter that kept him out the rest of the game.
"Losing Dutton was a huge blow for us," Glass said. "He has been a leader for us on defense.
In his absence Sam Lowe and Ben Dobson stepped up to lead the defense and they did a great job.
It was the perfect ending to a great week of football. For the players they will remember this for the rest of their lives. Friendships and bonds have been made that will last for years to come.
The next edition of the Alberta Summer Games is 2 years away and I asked Coach Glass if he would be interested in doing it again. Without skipping a beat he said "Absolutely but first I'm going on a holiday."
Congratulations (Zone 2) Big Country - 2018 Alberta Summer Game Bronze Medalists
photos provided by Anna Lowe