COCHRANE— The Cochrane Cobras took to the field in full red and white game gear and Thursday (Oct. 8) for a competitive O-Line versus D-Line interclub scrimmage.
Many of the kids embraced the opportunity to get back to a bit of competitive play, but the coaching staff also delighted in seeing their players back on the field.
“I’ve got to tell you, it was pretty cool,” said head coach Robbie McNabb. “You go to practice every day with it in mind that you get to play a game on the weekend and we haven’t been able to do that. To actually have the red and white game with the kids, and they’ve got their game jerseys on in school, I thought it was just terrific, and I was so happy for the kids— They were smiling and having a great time.”
Many of the young players were chomping at the bit to get in some competitive games. McNabb said he and the other coaches encouraged the kids to play hard, but remember they are all Cobras at the end of the day.
“We said ‘hey, this a competitive period for you, but remember that you are teammates,’” he said. “It was great. They worked hard, they helped each other up, they hit each other. It was a lot of fun, a lot of smiles. I really enjoyed myself and I know a lot of the coaching staff did as well.”
Despite the competitive scrimmage likely being the climax of the Cobras’ season, the team will forge ahead with one more week of practices.
McNabb said he put it to the players to decide whether or not to continue after Thursday’s scrimmage, and the hard-working Cobras elected to keep the ball rolling.
“Without the possibility of games, practices are a little tough, and it’s tough to stay motivated, I don’t care who you are,” McNabb said. “But I asked them, I said ‘do you want to continue going,’ and they said ‘yes,’ so we’ll go another week for sure.”
McNabb added that he is still hopeful that there will be football in the spring.
“That’s something that the [Alberta Sports Athletic Association] is looking at, but obviously that’s out of our control,” he said. “That’s how COVID goes, and timelines and weather and all of those things, but there’s still that chance.”
McNabb said he feels that the team is well prepared for that possibility.
“In the last four weeks we’ve seen excellent progression, with the young kids especially, and I’m confident that if they put a season together we’re ready.”
For the defending champions, finishing the year without the possibility of defending their title is a big letdown.
“The biggest thing, too, is that we want to defend our provincial championship. We won the last six in a row and it would be nice to go out and defend that,” he said. “These kids in Grade 12 they want to see if the team is good enough to repeat.”
For the Grade 12 kids, who have dedicated countless hours over the last three years, the anti-climax of this season is especially devastating.
“The Grade 12’s are the leaders, they’re the ones that lead us to those provincial championships. Grade 11’s and 10’s chip in, there’s no question about that, but the true leaders of the team going forward to a provincial championship are those Grade 12s,” he said. “They want to do that. They want to walk away and have their name on that— On being the leaders as well.”
The Cobras will have their last practice this year on Thursday (Oct. 15), at their home field behind Cochrane High School.