The Lacombe Rams football team is well represented on this year’s Football Alberta North All-star Team.
Two seniors, receiver Matt Darnell and quarterback Jon Ericson, were selected to compete in the game — which took place at McMahon Stadium on the weekend of April 20th-23rd.
The award comes after the Rams came within one win of advancing past the City Championships, eventually dropping the final game against the Hunting Hills Lightning after being up at halftime.
“We have been making our mark and we have had a pretty good run for our program the last few years,” Rams Head Coach Jason Petrie said. “Winning a championship in our eyes as a program is important but it is really important we keep kids moving forward if they have the thought they want to play football at the next level.”
According to Petrie, developing athletes has been the primary objective for the program.
“In my time here over the last 16-17 years, we have done a pretty good job even though we haven’t always had the best win-loss records,” he said. “We have had some excellent athletes come through and we have had success moving kids along to the next level.
“Everything is about the next level in our opinion. We start thinking about the next year while the current year is still going. That is how you get continuity in a program.”
Petrie said the football program continually tries to promote and develop players who want to play after high school at any level. He added it is rewarding to see his players succeed beyond their time at Lacombe Composite High School.
“It is bittersweet losing Jon Ericson, but it is Jon Ericson’s time to move on to bigger and better things,” he said. “It is bittersweet losing Matty Darnell, but it is his turn to move on to bigger and better things.
“When kids leave, it gives another kid an opportunity to come in and take that spot. If they are interested in moving on with football, we hope that they can and we hope we give them the tools necessary to do so.”
Petrie believes the Rams will still have solid depth next year despite losing a, what he calls, guaranteed first down converter in Darnell and arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Ericson.
“Losing kids like that is tough but that’s okay. These other kids coming in will get their chance. We have a deeper depth pool than we had last year,” he said.
He added, “We are real proud of all our kids and we are proud of those two boys that made it”.
Other Central Albertans selected include Hunting Hills Quarterback Brandon Rees, Hunting Hills Receiver Nathan LaVigne, Hunting Hills Linebacker Kallen Vickery and Lindsay Thurber Defensive Back Evan Aldrich.