South Peace News
A memorable high school football season ended for the High Prairie Renegades with their first ever playoff game.
Playing in the Tier IV playoffs, No. 4 ranked High Prairie lost 34-6 to the No. 8 Ardrossan Bisons on the road Nov. 13 in the north semi-final.
Raiden Duchesneau scored a 99-yard touchdown after he legally recovered a Renegade punt from their own 11-yard line with just under seven minutes left in the game to narrow the deficit to 20-6.
Scoreless after the first quarter, Ardrossan led 13-0 at halftime and 14-0 after the third quarter.
Ardrossan added two late touchdowns to clinch the win.
Head coach Tom Duchesneau says the Renegades put out their best.
“I thought we played very well in our first-ever provincial playoff game,” Duchesneau says.
“Overall, we played very well against a very good team. We showed that we could definitely compete with the best teams in the province and on another day the score could easily have been reversed.”
The High Prairie defence was solid.
“Our defence had its best game of the year,” Duchesneau says.
However, the weather was a challenge for the Renegades going forward.
“Our offence struggled with extremely windy conditions,” Duchesneau says.
“We had a number of great receivers and were primarily a passing team, but our passes were really affected by wind gusts.”
He says coaches are very proud of how the players conducted themselves on and off the field.
The whole weekend was a great experience for the team, the coach says.
“The game was great and we had a couple of guest speakers come in to talk to the players during the trip,” Duchesneau says.
Former CFL all-star and Edmonton Eskimo player and coach Kavis Reed spoke to the players.
“Christine Bradley, who was one of the original founders of the High Prairie Renegades, reached out to Kavis who helped get football started in High Prairie in 2014,” Duchesneau says.
“Our players and coaching staff are very grateful for the opportunity to listen and ask questions from such an inspiring man.”
Another surprise for the players was a pre-game chat from former Edmonton Eskimo player Emilio Fraietta, the coach says.
“He even brought one of his many Grey Cup rings to show the players,” Duchesneau says.
Duchesneau says the 2021 Renegade team is special to him after many years of coaching various sports in High Prairie.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach many athletes over the years as a gymnastics coach, hockey coach and football coach,” Duchesneau says.
“But I have never been more proud of a group of young men and women as I am right now.
“I have witnessed this group grow so much as players, students and teammates and I am grateful that I was able to be a part of it.”
He thanks everyone who made the season so successful.