COCHRANE— Cochrane High Schools Cobras linebacker Chandler Ball is the latest recruit to commit to the Calgary Colts junior football program next year.
The 6’0”, 210 lb Cochranite got the opportunity to join the Colts after taking the initiative and reaching out to the Colts head coach, Dennis Holowaychuk.
“I emailed him, I would probably say like two months ago,” Chandler said. “I just told him I was interested in playing for him and I was wondering if he would check out my highlight tape, and he did and he said he really liked it and he said he was very interested in having me on their team. He said he thinks that would be good for me and good for the team.”
Chandler officially received his offer around mid-March, and signed his commitment right away.
He was excited to be continuing on with his football career, especially given his senior season was cancelled.
“I love the sport and I’m happy to be playing outside of high school, considering we didn’t get a season this year because of COVID,” Chandler said. "How I first got interested in joining them was because some of my friends like Ty Metcalfe and Dominic Mills, they started recruiting with them, so I thought that would be a good opportunity for me to play with my friends still, and it’s also close to home ... It seems like a very good program to continue on with after high school.
“Coach Knitter and Coach McNabb, we talked a lot about it. They would call me into the office, like they do with most of the seniors and be like, ‘what’s your plan after high school?’ We’ll tell them our plan and wherever they can put in a word for us with someone where we’re trying to go to, like a college or university. They’ll do the best they can to support us— I find that they’re really good about that.”
Chandler said the Cobras coaches were “brutally honest” but in a positive way, letting the kids know where they had the best chances, or where they would have to put in a lot of extra work to make something happen.
“They were honest, they just told you straight up that you’ll be able to make this team, or they would say ‘that’s going to be very hard for you to get into but I think you could do it.'"
Chandler started his high school football career in Lethbridge at Catholic Central High School. Roughly two years ago his family moved to Cochrane, which is when he got involved with the Cobras.
The difference between the two programs, he said, was noticeable right away.
“I honestly wish I would have played with them [the Cobras] for my Grade 10 year, throughout my whole high school career. It was a lot more fun and a lot more educational for my playing style in general, because the coaching is just really amazing there,” he said. “It was really awesome playing there. I would definitely come back and help them out if they ever need it.”
Moving on from the Cobras, he said, feels good, and he expects to see a lot of improvement in his game going forward.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of room for me to improve going to the Colts. Playing for the Colts is really going to help my play style and give me good tips that I didn’t know before and overall make a better player to go on after the Colts and maybe be able to excel higher than the Junior level,” he said. “I think it’s going to give me good experience and it’s going to be a fun time to help the team as much as I can in areas and have them help me a whole lot.”
Chandler said he eventually wants to reach the U Sport level, but does not have any particular school or programs in mind just yet.