South Peace News
The Peace River Pioneers honoured top players in the 2022 high school football season at an awards banquet Nov. 18.
Awards were presented by co-head coaches Mark Owens and Hayden Gust, receivers coach Brock Whelan, defensive backs coach Brooks MacDonald and running backs coach Brendon Nichols.
Kadin Crann won the Most Valuable Player Award, the Offensive Back Award, the Top Special Teams Award and the Hitman Award.
Jacey Boucher won the Coaches Award.
Jonathan Wiens won the Most Improved Offensive Player Award.
Rowen Shannon won the Most Improved Defensive Player Award.
Liam Schlack won the Defensive Back Award.
Joel Brennan won the Linebacker Award.
Peter Klassen won the Rookie of the Year Award.
Carmine Cardinal won the Offensive Lineman Award.
Kaleb Garnett won the Defensive Lineman Award.
Darren Croker, Geordan Still and Crann each won the Pioneer Award presented to three-year Pioneer players who represent the team on and off the field with integrity and respect.
Grade 12 players received their jerseys as a keepsake.
The Pioneers recognized seven players who will be graduating.
Coaches and players also thanked Gust who is leaving the team to become an on-field official.
“We appreciated all that Hayden has done for the Pioneers,” Owens says.
“It will be great to have him join the referees as this is a much-needed role that needs to be filled all over Alberta.”
The Pioneers finished second in the regular season and suffered a semifinal loss at home against the Wetaskiwin Sabres in their first season in the five-team Alberta 9-aside football league.
“The team did extremely well adjusting to the 9-aside game and games were competitive and positive all season,” Owens says.
“It was great to travel to central Alberta and play teams we had not played before.”
The other teams were well coached and all teams welcomed the season after coming out of difficult years with COVID-19.
“It is great to have 9-aside football as an option now for some of our smaller rural teams,” Owens says.
“We will always be striving to get enough players for 12-aside and return to the Mighty Peace Football Conference.”
Football Canada states that a team must have more than 30 players to play 12-aside.
“But, if at the spring camp we have 20-25 players, we will still have a competitive league option with 9-aside,” Owens says.