11 players from the Airdrie Storm will be taking part in the ABC Bowl Young Stars age bracket in May where the best players in Alberta will face off against the best players in B.C.
Nolan Rohl, Head Coach Airdrie Storm and Offensive Coordinator for the ABC team under Head Coach Jermaine Brown, give a breakdown of the ABC Bowl.
"The ABC is an all-star game put on by All Canada Gridiron run by Ron Dias. It goes on between Alberta and B.C. There are actually 4 levels. There's peewee, bantam, junior and some high school teams."
The 11 players chosen from the Storm were from the season in 2018. Other players for Alberta's team were selected throughout the province.
"For the try-outs, we hit six cities in Alberta over three days. We went to Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Calgary, Fort Saskatchewan, Edmonton, and Red Deer. We saw 91 players."
Rohl says the try-outs decide which athletes are selected for the team.
"We essentially pick the best 40 kids from around the province that we see during those tryouts. The game has been going on for what I want to say is the 5th year at their Young Stars level, which is the team that the peewee players play at."
The players will not just have a chance to play the game they love, but will have a chance to reach a wider audience, says Rohl.
"The game is actually broadcasted live on VBN Sports, a Youtube channel. Friends and family can watch it from home. At the older age levels, there are more opportunities for the guys to be seen."
With 11 players, the Airdrie Storm are seeing a large number of their players making it to the Alberta Team. Rohl says they actually make up the largest portion.
"We make up the largest portion of the Young Stars roster. The second largest portion is the Calgary Wildcats, they have 9 players from there. They won the Tier 1 Provincial Championship this year. We lost to them in the Tier 1 City Championship in Calgary. We've got a few players from the Saint Albert Riders and a large contingent from the Calgary Bulldogs who won the Tier 2 Championship in peewee and a few players from other areas."
Rohl gives a breakdown on who exactly playing for the team.
"The starting middle-linebacker, the starting quarterback, we have three players at receiver, two offensive linemen, a centering guard and three defensive backs (from the Airdrie Storm). And I believe two more linebackers. So between the starting quarterback and back linebacker position, we basically take up the two anchors on both sides of the ball. Our kids are the leaders."
Rohl has high hopes for his Alberta team this year.
"This is probably one of the most incredibly talented years I've probably ever seen in peewee football. I've been coaching 15 years in the Calgary league and between the players from the Wildcats (and) the players from the Storm, the players from Saint Albert, the team is very tall, very heavy, and very fast. (We have) the fastest running back we'll ever see in our lifetime in the age that he's at, playing in this game. I have a feeling Alberta comes out on top."
Rohl says the Airdrie Storm coaching staff will also be a large part of the ABC Alberta team due to an impressive offensive season.
"We actually have five coaches from Airdrie that are on that staff as well," says Rohl. "They wanted us involved. We ran over a thousand yards passing on offense this year at the peewee team in Airdrie which is very, very high for a peewee level of football in all of Alberta. The head coach wanted us to come and run that offense."
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