Stettler Panthers win Pee Wee Tier 4 championship

panthersThe 2012 Alberta Pee Wee Tier 4 Football champions got a first-hand congratulations from Stettler Town Council on their winning season.
The team was in attendance during the Stettler Town Council meeting Tuesday, December 4 to receive a certificate on behalf of the town.
It was a bitter -17 degrees at Johnny Bright Sports Park in Edmonton when the Stettler Panthers won the provincial championship on Saturday, November 17 against the St. Albert Colts, shutting them down 55 – 22.
“The team came together strong, and started playing as a unit,” said Barri Shirley, head coach of the Panthers. “It really showed on the field.”
The energetic team of 10 to 12 year old boys and girls attended the council meeting wearing their team jerseys and medals around their neck. Their excitement was hard to contain as Stettler Mayor Dick Richards personally congratulated each of them on behalf of the town.
The road to the championship was a rough one, one that coach Shirley says his team rightfully earned.
“It was a tough season,” said Shirley. “We had a lot of growing pains, a lot of new kids.”
The team’s maturation was slow, as this season was the first taste of football for many of the players. Teaching the fundamentals of the game took up much for the first half of the season, but it was their first taste of victory after losing their first four matches. Their first win of the seasons is what gave the team their hunger for the championship.
“The development of the team and the kids took some time, but once they got that first victory, they never looked back,” Shirley said.
Indeed, the team went on to win their next seven games, clinching the semi-finals in Lloydminster to earn their spot facing the experienced St. Albert squad in the finals.
The diversity of the team’s age and skill levels helped reinforce Shirley’s coaching strategy: teamwork.
“Football teaches teamwork and discipline,” Shirley said. “It teaches them confidence in themselves as a person. Unity as a team is a big thing that we push.”

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