Respected rivals to clash at Falcons Field
Football: Games turns pals into foes for 40 minutes
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 06:00 am
Friends will gather for a fall tradition this Friday.
A group of young men will gather in the middle of a field and after watching a coin get tossed, will proceed to bash each other for the bragging rights. But when all is said and done, they will shake hands and tell jokes in what has become a most civil skirmish between north and south.
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights and the Foothills Falcons will square off Friday for the town’s high school football bragging rights at Falcon Field.
“No matter how many times we play them, nobody wants to lose it,” said Knights coach Matt Hassett. “It’s always going to be a good game because everyone gets so hyped up for it. It’s two teams with a good rivalry against each other — there is going to be 1,500 to 2,000 people there.”
He said it’s a respectful rivalry.
“There was some animosity there, but things have changed thanks to the Foothills Eagles program,” Hassett said. “A lot of these guys played with each other before going to high school. It’s a rivalry, but there is a lot of respect.”
Knights offensive lineman Joel Visser has known Foothills Falcon linebacker Cody Thompson for nearly a decade. They are like Wiley Coyote and the Sheepdog — pals, but when it is time to punch the clock, the sheepdog will punch Wiley for trying to steal lambs.
“Cody and I go way back,” the Grade 12 Visser said. “As a football player he is really motivated. He goes 100 per cent and plays to the whistle all the time.”
Visser said one of his roles is to try and stop Thompson if he blitzes.
“Last year, the Falcons blitzed a lot and it will be my job to just stop him and fill up my gap so he can’t do his job.”
Thompson is looking forward to the game. He needs to even the score. The Senior Knights have a 2-1 advantage over their rivals to the south.
“Joel and I were good friends back in Bantam and we still talk,” said Thompson, who covers a field like a combine at harvest. “I could be going up against him. It’s always funny when he knocks me over, or if I knock him over and we realize who it was, we joke about it and then go back to our jobs.”
Falcon linebacker Matt Hunter wants a chance to play against Knights quarterback Spencer Kiranas. He doesn’t want to knock his friend on his butt, he just hopes his pal is healthy. Kiranas hasn’t played this year due to a lower body injury.
“We played together the first few years and I haven’t really had the chance to play against him yet,” Hunter said. “Spencer is so quick and he throws the ball well. He’s very accurate… I hope he gets a chance to play.”
Kiranas doesn’t know whether he will play, but he has mutual respect for Hunter.
“Matt and I are pretty good buds,” Kiranas said. “He’s a smart, disciplined player.”
He recalls as a Bantam watching the big game.
“They would stop Eagles practice early to come and watch this game,” Kiranas said. “I normally watched it with my dad… In my last year of Bantam we talked about playing this game a lot. Win or lose it was just a fun rivalry. We always played together and we looked forward to playing against each other.”
Another guy looking forward to the game is Falcons new head coach Darren Olson.
“As much as you try to make it just another game, it’s just not possible,” Olson said. “The Seniors, they know what it is all about and the Grade 10s, coming in have been to the game and seen all the hype.
“And me, even as a new guy, well it’s definitely there. I can feel it.”
The Falcons go into the game at 5-0 while the Knights are 1-2. But records for this game are about as meaningful as political polls. The kick-off for the big game is 7 p.m. at Falcon field.