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Graduating Cobras to have last dance with high-school football at Senior Bowl

Five graduating football players and two coaches from Cochrane High will make up a portion of Football Alberta's South team at the Senior Bowl later this month

There will be a sizable contingent of Cobras players at this year’s Football Alberta Senior Bowl.

Running back Shaun Clazie, defensive back Adam Jackson, quarterback Ethan Pickard, offensive lineman Jacob Patterson, and receiver Carter Church all made it through the tryout process to represent Cochrane on the South team at the May 23 game in Lacombe.

“We’ll play the same way we did at the provincial championship,” said Patterson. “You gotta leave it all out on the field and not bring anything back with you. You gotta win like it’s the last one.”

The team of Grade 12 players will face off against their northern competitors – a team of 40-plus high-school senior football players that include some of the best in the province.

For some of the Cobras, this will be their first time back on the turf with teammates since winning their seventh straight provincial championship last fall. The team ended their 2021 provincial push on a high note, beating their provincial rival the Lloydminster Holy Rosary Raiders for the Tier III Alberta Bowl football championship title at the end of November.

For Patterson, it will be his second time playing at a Football Alberta event since the Cobras nabbed the trophy. He previously appeared in Football Alberta’s 2021 Summer Series, which led him to qualify to play for Team Alberta’s U18 Showcase against Team B.C. in December. Pickard’s younger brother, Tate, also played in the showcase with the U17 team.   

Two more familiar faces will join the Cobras at the Senior Bowl, as both head coach Robbie McNab and defensive coordinator Tommy Knitter will be leading the South team.

McNab said he’s proud of the team and looks forward to seeing some of their own graduates take to the field in what could be the last time of their high-school football careers.

“Through COVID, these kids were in Grade 10 when they played and then didn’t get a season in Grade 11,“ said McNab. “And then they came back in Grade 12 and had a fantastic season.

“Their growth from Grade 10 to Grade 12 was incredible, so to see them take this challenge on is outstanding and it shows toward their character – they’re competitive kids.”

The competition will take on a different face for Pickard next year, as he’s signed to play for the Canadian Junior Football League’s Westshore Rebels, a U21 team based in Langford, B.C.

In the meantime, he’s going to enjoy his last dance with the Cobras and other fellow graduating players from across the province.

“I’ve got coach McNab with me and coach Knitter,” said Pickard. “Plus, I got four other dudes that I’m quite close with, so I’m excited to get to play with them one more time.”

The South team will get a chance to shake off any rust in their training camp at Shouldice Park in Calgary, May 20 to 22.