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Cochrane Cobras football moves up to Tier 1

“We were just thinking, we feel pretty confident with our team, our coaching staff, and our preparation,” said the Cobras head coach, Rob McNab. “We just thought maybe this is the year we’ll go out and see what we can do.”
Cobras football stock photo
The Cochrane Cobras are now in Tier 1, meaning their provincial push this fall will be against some of Alberta's top high-school football teams.

The Cochrane Cobras football program surprised many in Alberta’s high-school football circles on Oct. 2, revealing they were making the move up to Tier I.

Until now, the Cobras have been considered a Tier III school by Football Alberta, as a result of Cochrane High’s student enrolment. Despite being one of the smallest high schools in the Rocky View Schools (RVS) division, the team has dominated the RVS' football league in recent decades. They've won the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) banner the last six years in a row and have only lost one league game during that run.

Provincially, Cochrane has also been dominant at the Tier III level for the last two decades, and has won the Football Alberta high-school Tier III championship the last eight years running. The team’s only decent competition among the province’s Tier III teams tends to be Lloydminster, who Cochrane typically beats for the Alberta Bowl title every November.

But as a result of their recent decision, the Cobras will take on bigger schools from the Tier I division, most of which are from Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, and Lethbridge, in their upcoming provincial push later this fall. 

“We were just thinking, we feel pretty confident with our team, our coaching staff, and our preparation,” said the Cobras head coach, Rob McNab. “We just thought maybe this is the year we’ll go out and see what we can do.”

The Cobras are currently ranked ninth among Tier I programs.

McNab admitted part of the reason for making the move up to Tier I this season was the recent introduction of the Brian Fryer division – a league he referred to as a quasi "Tier IA." He noted seven of Alberta's best high-school football teams moved up to that tier.

“We know on a consistent basis, we couldn’t compete with those schools – they’re just too big,” he said. “With those teams gone [from Tier 1], there’s a handful of big schools left, and we’re confident we can at the very least compete with those schools.”

The Cobras are currently unbeaten in the RVS league this season, sitting in their usual position atop the table with a 5-0 record. They recently shut out the Springbank Phoenix 47-0 in their most recent game on Sept. 29. 

Cochrane has a bye in the RVSA this week, but will take on the Holy Trinity Academy Knights of Okotoks in an exhibition game on Friday. The HTA Knights are currently ranked first among Alberta's Tier II football programs. 

Given the Cobras’ perennial dominance and a few other factors – the team is set to unveil its new turf field later this fall – McNab, who is in his 31st year of coaching Cochrane High football, said he feels now is the right time to test the program against some of the province’s best teams.

“We evaluate every year where we think we fit,” he said. “After COVID, we had to get our program back on track and we feel we have done that with our 65-man roster, so it was time to move up.”


Scott Strasser

About the Author: Scott Strasser

Scott Strasser, editor
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