Another chance at a Wheatland Football League (WFL) championship, another year to defend their title.
It’s all too familiar at Holy Rosary, as the Raiders are set for their fourth straight trip to the WFL championship game where they will look to defend a championship they have won the last two seasons.
Since the 2014 season began, the Raiders have only lost one game, last year’s Alberta Bowl final, so if anyone knows what it takes to win, you don’t need to look much further than the Raiders football team.
And while the championship game is a familiar game for the Raiders, so too are their opponents from across town, as the Raiders will host the Lloydminster Barons in a rematch of the 2014 final in a game that always goes up to another level.
“That’s got a life of its own,” said Raider’s head coach Vince Orieux of the rivalry with the Barons.
“You can throw personnel aside in those games for the most part. Whichever team can control their emotions and maybe get a quick start and see how it goes. It’s nice that we have played them once from a game planning perspective. They are not going to sit still and throw the same stuff at us. They are going to make some changes, but there is a familiarity that will help with game planning for the week.”
In their 41-0 victory in the crossover week prior to playoffs, Orieux felt the Raiders left some points out on the field, as they fumbled on the goal line and were picked off there as well.
It was another defensive victory for the Raiders, who defeated the St. Paul Lions 51-0 last Friday in the semi-final with a defensive effort that resulted in seven interceptions.
It’s to be expected that defence will once again play a factor in the Raiders trying to earn their third straight WFL championship.
And with a victory already this season over the Barons by a wide margin, there isn’t a shortage of confidence heading into Friday’s final.
“We’ll have some confidence going in, but as coaches we’ll have to keep that in check,” said Orieux. “It’s a league final. We were in this situation a couple years ago where we beat them in a league game pretty good and it was a 9-7 (championship) final. So any given Friday.”
For the players, it’s another chance at another championship. The current senior class doesn’t know what losing feels like very much, having only the one blemish on their record since first suiting up as a Raider in Grade 10.
With a proud history and tradition of winning continuing to grow at Holy Rosary, this year’s Grade 12s want to keep it alive and make it a third straight WFL title before moving onto provincials and their next goal of getting back into the Alberta Bowl final.
“As a senior, this is my third appearance in the Wheatland final,” said senior Justin Millar. “This is actually where it all started for me. My first game ever was against the (Barons) in my rookie year. It means everything to us. We’re going to go out there, play our game and hopefully come out with the win and move on to provincials.”
Kickoff at Holy Rosary is at 7 p.m.