In a season with more downs than ups the Red Deer Peewee Hornets football team is looking to turn a lacklustre year into a championship one.
The Hornets went 2-6 on the year and under the minor football provincial setup they’re able to compete for the Tier Four provincial crown.
The playoff run started with a 24-12 win over the Stoney Plain Bombers and will now head off to Lloydminster this weekend where if they put up their fourth win of the year, they can lay claim to a provincial title.
“The kids really don’t know any difference between tiers,” said Hornets head coach Corey Pusey who figures this playoff action has done something to his young charges.
“It definitely flipped a switch. They came out (against the Bombers) and in the first quarter our defence was lights out. They were on fire and I think Stoney may have gotten two first downs in the quarter.”
Pusey says this season has been a challenge to get his players motivated and focused so this was a welcome change in behavior on both sides of the ball.
So now the trick is to carry that momentum into the weekend and practice hard this week preparing for an opponent they will know very little about.
“If we don’t have any film to game plan for them we’ll just go in with our base offence and defence and make sure that we are ready to do our jobs,” he said. “Like most coaches with any game plan if we just do our thing and we just take care of our end of business then these things usually work out.”
This is year eight for Pusey as a coach in the peewee ranks and he admits it was one of the toughest he’s experienced but he keeps coming back for more.
“I really do love it,” he said about working with the kids and forming some long lasting relationships as these players move into higher leagues.
“I never used to follow bantam and high school football before but now I find myself watching games, watching kids I’ve coached, some have even gone on to university ball now.”
He figures his team is very much relaxed at this point and practice has been good as well as fun for the kids so the mood is excellent, especially following a playoff victory.
“Spirits are pretty high. The kids were pretty happy after the game and they’re looking forward to playing for a provincial title.”