Calgary

Score in this football game was so low everyone thought it was a typo

It sounded more like a hockey score last Friday in Fort McMurray as the Alberta Bowl — a showdown between Calgary's St. Francis Browns and Edmonton's Harry Ainlay Titans — wound down to its thrilling conclusion.

St. Francis Browns knock off Edmonton high school in lowest-scoring football game anyone can remember

Calgary's St. Francis Browns won the Alberta Bowl in Fort McMurray last Friday. (David Hillaby)

You could almost hear Hockey Night in Canada icon Bob Cole shouting, "It's a one goal game!' last Friday in Fort McMurray as the Alberta Bowl — a showdown between Calgary's St. Francis Browns and Edmonton's Harry Ainlay Titans — wound down to its thrilling conclusion.

The only catch was that this one goal game didn't involve a puck, but rather a pigskin.

The only thing puck-like about the Alberta Bowl was the final score: 3-2 St. Francis.

"It was a defensive battle, for sure," said Browns assistant coach Angelo Geremia in a Tuesday interview with the Calgary Eyeopener.

"Sounds more like a hockey score, for sure," he added.

The Friday night clash to decide the best of Alberta's high school Tier 1 ran into some flurries, reducing traction and visibility that clearly hampered both teams' offensive capabilities — and "hampered" is putting it mildly.

"We had so many of our friends and family text us — they thought it was a typo — when they put the score up," said Geremia.

"No one thought the score was 3-2," he added.

All about the field position

The scoring all came on the St. Francis side.

They kicked a field goal in the first half, to move ahead 3-0.

Then, in the second half, as the weather worsened and both teams got bogged down in a game of field position, the Browns opted to take a two-point safety.

That allowed them an open kick that they hoped would tilt the field back in their favour by marooning Harry Ainlay deep in their own territory, far away from St. Francis's end zone.

Calgary's St. Francis Browns defeated Edmonton's Harry Ainlay Titans 3-2 last Friday to win the Alberta Bowl, given to the outstanding Tier 1 high school team in Alberta. (St. Francis High School)

"It worked out," said Geremia, with characteristic understatement.

"We were able to hold them off."

High School powerhouse

While it was sunny days for everyone who bet the under, the reality of the result was that it continued St. Francis High School's domination of Alberta high school football.

The title was their sixth, and they've been in the provincial final four years in a row.

The victory came at a time when turnout for youth football is on the decline, right across North America, Geremia acknowledged.

We speak to Angelo Geremia, assistant coach of the St. Francis Browns. The Browns won the Alberta Bowl's Tier 1 provincial championship with the unusual score of 3-2. 6:37

"It's been a challenge for all of high school football to get players out," he said. "Some teams have it harder than others, for sure. We're very lucky to have the tradition we've had, and so we definitely are able to get players to come and play for us, for sure."

One factor that works in Calgary schools favour when it comes to youth football is the relative strength of its bantam league teams.

"Our feeder programs are very good," Geremia said.

"Bantam football in the city is still excellent — we still have the Cowboys and Mavericks programs that train players very well, and we get them to come to St. Francis

"It turns out really good for us."

Fort Mac showcases northern football

And while CFL fans basked in the near zero temperatures late Sunday afternoon when the Grey Cup game unfolded on icy Commonwealth Stadium turf, some may be asking, why Fort McMurray, in late November, to play a high school championship featuring teams from Calgary and Edmonton?

It turns out the Alberta High School Football Association rotates the championship game host site yearly, much the way the NFL and CFL do, in order to showcase the football scene in different locations.

"This was maybe the opportunity to highlight football in northern Alberta," Geremia said. "The top two teams were from Calgary and Edmonton, for Tier 1. But we also had teams from Cochrane, teams from Okotoks, teams from Lloydminister. There were teams from all over the province who played off in different divisions."

Regardless of the score, Geremia had no complaints about the final outcome — even if it may live in Alberta football infamy forever.

"I haven't seen all the scores of past Alberta Bowls," he said, "but I think this might be the lowest."

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

About the Author

Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email: stephen.hunt@cbc.ca

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