The U14 and U10 teams in Estevan Minor Football will be looking for additional players for next year.
ESTEVAN – The 2023 seasons for the teams in Brandt Truck & Trailer Estevan Minor Football are over, and the organization hopes to have more players next season.
The Estevan Lions Club U14 Oilers wrapped up their campaign in a 22-0 loss to the Moose Jaw Raiders in the U14 consolation game.
“The defence played a really good game. They had some tackles for losses, some sacks and a forced fumble. They did really well out there,” said coach Paul Duncan.
The offence suffered some injuries early and couldn’t get the traction they wanted on a snowy field.
The loss came a week after Estevan lost 37-12 to the Moose Jaw Raiders in the semifinal round. Xander Pelletier scored a touchdown on what Duncan called a “beautiful” play-action pass from Ryder Mantei. The other score was on a last-second run by T.J. Thompson in which he evaded a couple of tackles.
“Everybody was in the right position and the kids battled really hard,” said Duncan, who noted the Vikings won that game on the strength of their running game and a receiver who is a foot taller than anyone from Estevan.
Duncan was pleased they were able to get points in most of their games. Forty per cent of their roster was new to the sport and 20 per cent were playing at the U12 level last year.
“I think they made a wonderful effort in continuing to battle,” said Duncan.
Several players suffered significant injuries, but the Oilers didn’t give up.
Duncan said he sees a bright future for the Oilers, but they need more players for next season.
This was also his final game as coach of the Oilers, as he will be coaching another team next year.
Estevan Canuckcade U10 Cudas’ head coach Kevin Mortenson hopes to see more players at that level next year. They had 11 or 12 kids registered with the U10 program when they typically have more than 20.
With the lower numbers, they weren’t able to fully participate in the Moose Jaw and Weyburn jamborees.
“It was a learning experience. It always is,” said Mortenson.
Estevan also had an exhibition game against the Moosomin Little Generals, who had 10-year-olds on their team.
“It was a lot of fun playing with Moosomin,” said Mortenson.
The team didn’t have any standouts this year, and Mortenson doesn’t expect the club will hand out any individual awards at the year-end banquet. Instead, they will likely hand out participation medals.
Mortenson and two members of the Estevan Kinette Club U18 Viragos female team – Hailey Tangjerd and Rylee Briscoe – were the coaches. Mortenson said this will be his final season of coaching, as he believes it’s time for someone new to step in.
“It is learn to play, so it is non-competitive, and I just want to teach them the basics, more of tackling and blocking and ball-handling. Those are three key things for me at that age. We’re not worried about throwing the ball, it’s more about hand-offs and pitches.”
Mortenson echoed Duncan’s statement about the need to get into the schools and do a lot of recruiting so they can get more athletes in all age groups. He believes the organization was in the low 80s for numbers, whereas they had 120 a few years ago.