A classic day for Okotoks grads
Football: Charlie Power, Anthony Parker helps Stamps cool Eskies
Monday, Sep 01, 2014 09:08 pm
Labour Day was like Christmas for a pair of Okotoks football products.
Charlie Power, a former linebacker for the Holy Trinity Academy Knight, made his Canadian Football League debut with the Calgary Stampeders in their 28-13 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos in the Labour Day Classic in front of a sold-out McMahon Stadium.
Meanwhile former Foothills Falcon Anthony Parker made a spectacular grab for a 27-yard touchdown on what proved to be the winning points.
Power’s first CFL regular-season play was as a blocking back on a Stampeder punt.
“I ran onto the field and I was going through my reads, but after that it was just back to football,” said Power, a 2009 HTA grad. “Before the game there was a little bit of nerves. I tried to let my mind relax, didn’t get too jacked up and went out and executed.
“In the tunnel before the game, I just looked around and said: ‘Hey, this is pretty sweet.”’
His first play he won’t forget — especially the loud “thunk” of an Edmonton Eskimo blocking a punt which was returned for the Eskies’ lone touchdown to cut the Stamps’ lead to 8-7 in the first quarter.
“I started looking for the ball and I saw it rolling around it to my left and I thought I was going to get the guy, but I got blocked.”
Power was limited to playing specialty teams, he did not see any action at fullback (the block punt did not come on his side).
He had an inkling all week he might make the lineup due to an injury to fullback Rob Cote.
“It wasn’t until Friday or Saturday night that they told me I would probably be up,” Power said. “The first person I told was my dad and my mom. They helped me so much — dad (Ken Power) was my linebacker coach at HTA.”
It wasn’t too long after he contacted his HTA coach Matt Hassett.
“He did so much for my career — Okotoks has always had such a good football program,” said Power, who became the first HTA Knight to play in the CFL.
Parker, a four-year-veteran, had gone into the Classic saying he wanted to make an impact in the famed Battle of Alberta game.
Parker’s TD-grab came after Edmonton had blocked the punt to cut the lead to 8-7.
“At that time of the game, that play definitely had an impact,” said the slotback Parker. “It was a big momentum shift — they had just blocked that punt for a touchdown. To get those points back, gave us the momentum to just carry on.”
The 2007 Foothills Comp grad called it the biggest catch of his young CFL career.
“It was a huge catch,” Parker said. “To have an impact in such a big game and the history we have with the Labour Day Classic was pretty cool.”
Parker made the spectacular catch by out jumping an Edmonton Eskimo defensive back for the pigskin before falling into the end zone.
“I was able to beat the guy right off the line and so I was able to create some separation,” Parker said. “I looked back and Bo (Stamps quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell) went to throw it but I could see the DB closing the gap.
“I slowed up to give me a chance for a jump ball, and I was able to out jump him and get my hands on the ball.”
Parker was thrilled to see his former rival, Power, make his CFL debut.
“It’s a cool time for him,” Parker said. “He’s been biding his time, working and waiting on the practice roster and putting work on the scout team.
“To see it come to fruition in one of the biggest games of the year, I was happy for him.”
The pair would have played against each other in 2006 in another famous rivalry game. Power was a Grade 10 linebacker for HTA, while Parker was an all-everything receiver for the eventual provincial champion Foothills Falcons.
Power also tipped his hat to Parker’s catch on Labour Day.
“That was one hell of a catch,” Power said, adding he has seen it before.
“When I played him in Grade 10 he probably ran over me,” he said with a laugh
The Stampeders will take on the Eskimos again this Saturday in the Alberta capital.
Power did not know his status for the next game.