The wait is almost over for the biggest high school football game in Prince Albert.
On Thursday night, the Carlton Crusaders and St. Mary Marauders will play their final games of the season, with the Tier 2 Championship and the Canadian Tire Classic on the line.
Crusaders head coach Lindsay Strachan said the anticipation was growing and the team was eager to get started.
“It’s an opportunity to compete for the Level 2 title at home,” said Strachan. “I’m thrilled with how lucky our kids are this week, and we’re getting ready to ride here.”
Strachan said his message to the team this week focused on mental preparation. The club have missed two games this year due to COVID-19, but rebounded with a 28-12 win over Bethlehem in their final game of the season.
“The main message was just belief,” Strachan said. “Things happen for a reason and here we are. We know what lies ahead and we are getting ready to show up and play our best football game.
These two teams were due to play in early October. With the date pushed back to early November, Strachan said having an extra month to see the film again could pay dividends for both teams.
“I think in a football season, the teams grow from week to week,” he explained. “There have been changes, and I’m sure St. Mary’s saw changes in our film from when they originally prepared for us as well. In the end, they take advantage of this time as well as we do. “
While having the extra time to prepare for this game, there were obviously some games under pressure that Carlton had to win to reach this stage. Now, with the big scene looming, Strachan says the key to winning will be to come out strong and keep playing aggressive.
“We’re going to have to play our most physical football game yet this year,” he said. “It will give us the opportunity to compete and do what we do. We have to be there in terms of physics. “
Carlton Crusader Notes
The Crusaders haven’t just been a physical team all season, but they’ve been a smart team defensively. They are known to play hard late in games, and opponents have found points hard to come by in the second half of the game. If Carlton can find his defensive path early in Thursday’s game, he will find himself in a good position to reclaim the W.
Twenty-eight has been Carlton’s favorite number in recent weeks. They’ve scored 28 points in each of their last two wins, and may need to score 28 or better, as they face a Marauders team that has scored 35 or more in each of their last four games.
It is the biggest sporting event in Prince Albert since 2019. One of the biggest high school rivalries in the province kicks off Thursday in the final games of the season for both teams. It’s the Canadian Tire Classic. It’s the level 2 championship. Kick-off Thursday at 6.30 p.m.