COCHRANE— Two of the Cochrane Cobra’s finest have received offers to play football at the next level.
Inside receiver Ty Metcalfe and defensive back Ben Dobson have both received offers from the University of Windsor’s Lancer Football, and the University of Calgary Dinos Football programs respectively.
Both players have taken the full ride through the Cobra’s football program, playing from their first year of eligibility through their Grade 12 years.
Ty said he got the offer about two weeks ago while watching game footage with the coach of the Windsor Lancers.
“He asked to call me about watching plays, watching my plays and his plays,” he said. “At the end of the call he’s like, ‘I would like to give you an offer, I think you’re an amazing player, and I’ll send you a copy of your offer.’”
Ty said he thought the call was just an evaluation and was surprised when he got the offer at the end of it.
“My heart stopped, I was in shock,” he said. “It’s a dream, right? I’ve worked very hard to get there, and I want to keep going, so it felt amazing.”
Ty said he was sad to be leaving the program that he has become so familiar with, but he feels like he is well prepared for the next level of play.
"The coaches are fantastic, they’ve helped me with my routes, my ability catch, and even my mental game and schooling. Everything, they do everything. Even my teammates— It’s a good community to be in,” he said. “I think I’m ready for whatever happens.”
Ty has been enrolled in Cobras football since he was eligible to play and said the team feels like a family.
“It makes me feel like I’m at home. I feel welcome here.”
Ty added that moving on from the program will be difficult for him.
“It is really tough, especially if we don’t have a season this year,” he said. “I’ll definitely miss this school, but they say once you’re a Cobra you’re always a Cobra. It will be really sad and some of these guys I’ll miss for sure.”
Although the season has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, both Ty and Ben said that they were grateful for the time they get to spend on the field this fall.
“I find it really sad, it’s really hard, but I feel lucky that we’re practicing,” Ty said. “It’s pretty hard for me to get up without games.”
Ben said it was difficult not having competitive play during his senior year, but is still holding out hope that they might get to play some games later in the season.
“It’s nice being out here at practice at least. It’s definitely good for development and also just to have some fun after school, seeing my friends, playing and getting some kind of football in, but it would be nice to have some games. Hopefully, we do,” he said. “You never know. I guess it’s whatever is safest.”
Ben said he talked to several of the coaches at the University of Calgary before getting his offer.
When he did get the call he was “super, super excited."
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play university football, so I’m very thankful to the coaches at U of C and also the coaches here for helping me get to that point.”
Ben credited the coaching staff at Cochrane High for helping him develop to the point of attracting the attention of a post-secondary program. His development would have been much slower without them, he said.
“It’s an incredible program. It’s tons of fun here in practice, in games and trips. Definitely the highlight of my high school experience has been here.”
The coaching staff of the Cobras have all played at the U Sports level, and their knowledge of that level of play has helped them fine-tune the practices to help kids take their game up a notch.
“Our practices are run like university practices are run. All of our coaches pretty much played U Sports football,” Ben said. “They run the practices here like they would run it at the next level. Everything here has prepared me for the next level.”
Ben said he is grateful he gets to stay in Calgary, and remain close to home, so he can come back and visit his Cobras alma mater.
“Of course I’ll miss Cobras football. Since I’m staying in Calgary I’ll come back and hopefully be able to come to some practices and games and see the coaches and everything like that. It feels nice being able to stay home,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll still be part of the program down the line.”
Head coach Robbie McNabb said that the next level will pose some challenges to even the most dedicated athletes, but was confident in the two Cobras.
“Right now it’s just 24/7 football at this point where they get up and they’re breathing, eating, sleeping football,” he said. “For a kid to go through a university program— Boy oh boy that’s just a brave move. It’s hard. Those are the guys that become the real football players, and Ben and Ty are those guys.”
McNabb said he’s excited to see two of his players achieve their goals of continuing their football careers past high school.
“Obviously we’re proud, there’s no question about that, but it’s very satisfying when you see them in the Ninth Grade here when they’re playing Bantam and you don’t know who they are, and then in Grade 10 they come up here and they’re a little nervous. Then to see that progression to where they can go off and play junior football and university football— It’s just so gratifying to see that.”