The Humboldt Collegiate Institute Mohawks tried their hardest in the face of cold weather and a tough opponent, but they eventually lost out on the provincial 9-man football title to the Clavet Cougars with a final score of 19-11 on Nov. 15.
“Overall, I think our team played very well,” said Mohawks head coach, Cory Popoff. “I’m proud of how they played.”
Although it was close to -20 C during the game, Popoff said the cold didn’t really affect their performance any more than he thought it affected Clavet and added they were both on pretty even footing. He said there were no specific standout moments for him as the whole game was played well.
“It’s more than a moment; the entire game itself was a highlight for me,” he said. “They showed once again that even though they were behind in the third quarter, they never once gave up and kept playing hard and almost were successful.”
The last time the Mohawks competed for the provincial title and won was in 2010 against Delisle.
“If there’s anything to be said, our conference and our area has a lot of highly skilled coaches that are able to bring their players up to a high level of proficiency,” Popoff said.
Clavet competed and lost against Lumsden for the provincial title last year.
“Clavet is a well-coached team. They’ve got a lot of good athletes and they played very, very well,” Popoff said. “They certainly were a team to beat in our league and unfortunately we didn’t quite make the mark.”
Although it was cold and the game was in Clavet, there was no shortage of Humboldt fans out to cheer on the athletes.
“The cold doesn’t keep our fans away from football, that’s what we found,” he said. “We’re very thankful and blessed that we had such a strong Humboldt support at this provincial final.”
The supporters included past football players, which Popoff said was great.
Popoff said there are always things the team can improve on for next year, whether it’s preparing for the season or finding new ways to get the athletes to prepare for competition. Overall, he’s happy with how things went.
“We feel that making it to provincials was a reaffirmation of the things that we do in preparation for our football games,” he said. “Even the pre-season, how important it is for our athletes to get into the weight room and get stronger and work on their speed. It is a reaffirmation that hard work does pay off.”