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Grey in charge
Strathmore Spartans bantam football team has new head coach for upcoming season
Thursday April 24, 2003
The Spartans, who will lose about 90 per cent of its team to the high school program, will also lose their head coach.
Rob Musselman will step aside to focus on his schooling, passing the reins to assistant coach and best friend Ryan Grey.
"I'll miss it tremendously," said Musselman speaking on coaching. "I'm going to school to become an EMT and my practicum will take a lot of time, so I had to step aside.
"I would like to get back into it at one point in the future because that was one of the best times of my life, but I have to get the schooling done first.
"The team will be ok...Ryan is determined - he's a winning coach and he wants to win, which is good."
The Spartans, which made it to the provincial semi-finals last year, will be in tough to repeat that this season because of all the new players the team will have.
A good portion of the players will compete for a roster spot on the high school football team.
"This year, my main goal with the team is to boost football interest in Strathmore," said Grey. "It's probably going to be a rebuilding year, but I want to help build football in Strathmore overall.
"Of course I want to defend our championship to the best we can, but I think that if we can get more interest and get more players coming out, then in the future we'll have a team that can hold a championship for a couple of years.
"I just want to help build this program."
The bantam and high school teams will work together in order to develop a system for both teams that will help ease the transition for players moving up.
Some of the systems and plays will be used for both teams.
"Of course there will be some different coaching styles between us, but we plan on using the same formations and what not," said Grey. "We don't want to contradict with each other and make players learn a whole bunch of new stuff when they get to high school.
"I'm definitely going to try to work a lot with Tony Tighe (high school head coach) so we're on the same page."
According to Grey, the only thing he will stress from his players is commitment, something that will help make the Spartans into a very good team.
"To me, the biggest thing is commitment," said the coach. "When I played high school football, I always went to practice unless I was medically unable to.
"I think that is the only way that you can have a good football team is with commitment.
"That is the biggest problem we had in Strathmore ever since the football program started is a lack of commitment. There are always a few players that go to practice, but a lot of players don't.
"Me and Tony talked about it and if we can't get the players to come out to the four or five practices a week, then they're not going to play.
"There is enough time to do homework and come to practice. Our practice is at 6 p.m., so there is a lot of time to get homework done before and after.
"Plus, we only ask this commitment for two to three months out of the year."
Bantam Spartans finish very successful season
Thursday November 14, 2002
The Spartans, who won the Prairie Thunder Football League championship earlier last month, were defeated by the Edmonton Chargers 41-6 to cap off their 2002 season.
The team, who defeated Wembley in the quarter-final on Nov. 2, couldn't handle the much bigger Chargers.
"We made a good run at it," said Spartans head coach Rob Musselman. "We really never decided to play until the second half and it was too late then.
"They're a much bigger team than us - they probably had six or seven guys pushing 250-260 lbs.
"We were outsized by a lot and that was the biggest reason for the loss - our guys were tiny compared to them and they were just pushing us around."
The Spartans, who finished the regular season with a 5-1 record, impressed many with their Prairie Thunder Championship and their high ranking at the provincials.
"It (was a highly successful season) in my opinion - we lost only two games the entire season," commented Musselman. "We're the fourth best in the province.
"I think that any team can go as far as they want to in my opinion...you just have to work at it.
"I think this town and our football program needed us to be a winner - after five years we really never advanced far in the playoffs.
"In just two years, I think we were a little surprised (with the success) - we were lucky to get the kids we had."
According to Musselman, the team will lose approximately 24 kids to the high school program next year.
The latest infusion of winning talent will boost the high school Spartans too.
"The high school team should do well next year and the year after that," added Musselman.
"There is a lot of speed on that team."
Trio of Strathmore Spartans make bantam football all-star teams
Thursday November 14, 2002
After winning the Prairie Thunder Football league championship and making it to the provincial semifinals with the Spartans, Curtis Silbernagel, Sean Seafoot and Danny Warrack were also named to the provincial bantam all star teams.
Silbernagel, an outstanding two-way lineman, was selected to the first dream team.
Seafoot, a defensive tackle, was named to the third team while Warrack, a versatile player who has had injury problems but still did the place kicking, was named third team kicker.
"It feels pretty good actually," said Silbernagel, who joined the bantam team last year. "I tried really hard and I made it - I got bigger in the off season, I worked hard and I did more conditioning.
"I was kind of surprised to hear that my name was on the team...I didn't know that I would make it that far.
"The ultimate was our team winning the league and going to the provincial semifinals, but (the all-star team) is a little extra."
Warrack, who broke his hand near the end of the season, still did kicking duties for the club during their playoff championship and provincial run.
"I never knew that they had an all-star team for the bantam, but it is a real honour," said Warrack. "I had a good year kicking the ball, so I was really too surprised.
"At the beginning of the year our team had a goal to win and that motivated me. Our goal was to win the South Championship, and we did that. Our goal then was to win the league and we did that too."
Seafoot, who started the season on the injury list with a broken shoulder, made an impact on the Spartans late in the season upon his return.
"It feels awesome to make the team," said Seafoot. "I was really surprised to see my name on the list, but its great.
"I'm good at tackling and I'm good on the defensive line...I just want to get faster, use my speed."
Spartans head coach, Rob Musselman, who thought more of his players could have made the all-star teams, was pleased with the selected three.
"Curtis brings intensity to every game," said Musselman. "He is a very aggressive player and he plays clean. He is very fast on the ball and he is probably our best leader.
"Danny is quick...he busted his hand and had pins put in it but he came back and did our kicking for us. He went to every practise and he is a really good football player.
"Sean is a big player and he filled a lot of gaps for us...he had a good year."
Musselman also praised other members of the Spartans who weren't named to the team
"Scott Smith had an outstanding year and he should have made one of the all-star teams," said Musselman. "He had well over 1000 yards and I don't know how many touchdowns he had.
"Our quarterback Tommy MacDonnell had a great year as did our (middle line backer) Daniel Johnson."
"A lot of our players did a fantastic job for us this year."
Strathmore Spartans bantam football team head to provincial semifinal after huge quarterfinal win
Thursday November 07, 2002
The Spartans, who defeated Wetaskiwin 6-0 the week before to earn the right to the big game, will now face the Edmonton Chargers this weekend in provincial semifinal in Edmonton.
After the allowing the Lightning to score on the first drive, the Spartans defence buckled down before Tommy MacDonnell found Josh Lord for a touchdown to tie the game.
The Spartans then scored later in the third quarter as Daniel Johnson scored on a 41-yard sweep to give the Spartans the lead.
However, the Lightning later scored a touchdown and missed the conversion, which proved to be the difference in the game.
"(The Lightning) are a fast team," commented Spartans head coach Rob Musselman. "They scored on their first drive and I think we underestimated their speed. After that we really stepped it up.
"Once we stepped off the bus, we were really excited - we just wanted to play some football."
The Spartans played the game without standout defensive end - offensive tackle Kelly Corbett, who suffered a injury the week before. Corner back Philip Camdon then suffered a concussion during the game.
The Spartans are now gearing up to face the Chargers at Foote Field in Edmonton on No.v 9 at 2 p.m.
Musselman believes that the key to the success is to play Spartan football.
"We're not going into this game thinking that we've already won," said Musselman. "We're going into this game knowing that we have to play a high level of football and if we do, then we can win.
"We have to be fast on the ball - we have to get under their d-line and force them (to make plays quickly).
"If not, then we could be in for a long game."
Like mentioned last week in the Strathmore Standard, the Strathmore Community Football Association (SCFA) is looking for helped covering the cost of the trip to Edmonton.
"We've made it to the top four in the province and in order to go higher, it would be great if the community could support us," said SCFA director Brett Bastable. "Their support would go a long way to helping us out."
The association would greatly appreciate any help with financial assistance from local businesses. If you would like to help out, please call SCFA director Brett Bastable at 585-5152 for more information.
Strathmore Spartans bantam football team wins league championship
Thursday October 31, 2002
The Spartans, who won the South Championship on Oct. 19, faced a tough Wetaskiwin team (the North Champion) at the high school in a game that saw both teams fight the cold temperatures.
The two teams battled through four scoreless quarters of football before two mini overtimes were used to declare a winner.
The first overtime, which consisted of two five-minute quarters, was also scoreless until Miller drove the ball home with no time remaining in the third extra session. Niether team could muster any points in the fourth five-minute session.
"That was a great game," beamed Spartans head coach Rob Musselman after the contest. "(Wetaskiwin) is a good team - they are strong and they gave it everything they got.
"Thumbs ups to them completely...we got a bit lucky. It was great to see Miller put it in the end zone after a bad snap for the field goal.
"Our offence marched the ball well but we could not seem to execute in the Red Zone."
Musselman credits the team defence for keeping the strong Wetaskiwin team off of the board.
"Our defence really, really stood up today," said the coach. "We were told about (Wetaskiwin's) running game and their short passing game and our defence stuffed them.
"In the first half of football we were a little scared because they were running the football on us. In the second half and the last couple of quarters in overtime, we shut them down really well.
"We made a lot of huge plays...there were so many turning points in that game."
Spartans offensive guard and defensive tackle Curtis Silbernagel, who laid some heavy hits throughout the contest, was ecstatic after the contest.
"We're two really, really close teams," said an exhausted Silbernagel. "Going into that many overtimes, everybody gave it their all.
"Our defence played their best game ever...we had a little trouble with the containment on the sweep but we stopped them every time up the middle.
"We knew what we had to do in order to win - we tried our best and we won."
The hero of the day, wide receiver and backup quarterback Kevin Miller, who scored the touchdown (unsuccessful convert), said the key to victory was to have fun.
"We just wanted to have fun and work hard," said Miller. "We just wanted to win this game and our defence was a huge part of that.
"On the touchdown we were supposed to kick a field goal but the snap was too low. I just took off and ran for the end zone."
Defensive end/offensive tackle Kelly Corbett, who had a huge game according to Musselman, said the only thing between winning and losing was effort.
"Our guys put in 110 per cent," said Corbett. "It was a really close game - they're a good, strong team and we contained their offence.
"Our offence then did the job for us."
With their recent win, the Spartans also qualified for the provincial quarterfinals, which begin this weekend in Grand Prairie.
However, the only problem is that the team is having trouble covering the costs associated with a long, overnight trip.
"We're looking for local business support or fundraising," said Brett Bastable, director of the Strathmore Community Football Association. "It would benefit us greatly if we could have a few businesses assist us in the cost.
"In essence, they are helping showcase Strathmore at a provincial level."
The SCFA is estimating that the cost for two day's of busing is around $3,000 with another $1,000 for overnight accommodations.
One of the alternatives according to Bastable is to bus the boys up starting at 9 p.m. on Friday night and have them sleep on the bus. However, that may save the association a few dollars, but it may cost the team a victory.
If the Spartans do indeed win the quarterfinal, they will then have to travel to Edmonton the following week for the semi-final. Once again, cost is a huge factor.
"Hopefully we can get some help with the cost for the next couple of weeks," added Bastable.
If you would like to help out, send cheques to the Strathmore Community Football Association at Box 2422, Strathmore, T1P 1K1. If you would like more information, please call Brett at 585-5152.
High school updade
The Strathmore Spartans high school football team, coached by Bastable, was also in action this past weekend for the first round of the Big Sky League Playoffs.
Unfortunately, the team couldn't overcome a poor first half en route to a 52-29 loss at Canmore.
"We just didn't have a very competent first half for the lack of a better description," said Bastable. "We came out of the first half down 46-13...we shot ourselves in the foot from almost the opening play.
"We just made too many stupid mistakes...we played better in the second half, out scoring them 16-6."
The Spartans got two touchdowns from Mark Leboldus, including a two-point convert interception to lead the way. The team also got a touchdown each from Luis Gudiel and Darcey Martens to round out the scoring.