South looking to extend Senior Bowl streak

Matthew Gourlie
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Four local players headed to all-star football game

Moose Jaw's Blake Buettner has an abundance of talent at his disposal as the head coach of the South at Monday's Senior Bowl.

Peacock’s Levi Paul, left, will represent the South at the 30th Ed Henick Senior Bowl Monday in Saskatoon.

What he didn't have was an abundance of players.

For the second straight year the Ed Henick Senior Bowl has been divided into three separate games for six-man, nine-man and 12-man football. The expansion has diluted the available pool of talent to some extent.

"It's a good group of kids, but I wouldn't say the tryout numbers were very high this year," said Buettner, the Peacock Tornadoes head coach who will be in charge of the South's 12-man team at the 30th annual Senior Bowl in Saskatoon. "With the different format, we struggled for numbers in a couple of positions, but we managed to get some kids going and move some kids around."

Moose Jaw will be represented by four players. Defensive end David Jule is from Central, while a trio of Peacock players — defensive back Spencer Nancarrow, slotback Levi Paul and defensive end Spencer Barrett — also made the team.

Barrett was a defensive lineman in high school, but made the team as a linebacker. When one member of the South team didn't arrive Friday in Saskatoon, Barrett moved back to defensive end.

"One of our interior linemen decided not to come today, for whatever reason, so Spencer made the move to defensive end," said Buettner who is joined by Peacock assistant coach Bert Redstone on the South coaching staff.

Three members of the Saskatchewan Under-18 team's offensive line didn't attend the South's 12-man tryout camp. In fact there were only three offensive linemen who originally came out to tryout for the 12-man team.

"We were a little disappointed in that," said Buettner. "We only had three o-linemen at the original tryout. I'm not sure why, but we were able to get some other linemen in. We're up to six offensive linemen. I think under the old format you would have had a huge contingent of o-linemen because a lot of the bigger kids play nine-man right now.

"We're focusing on who we have and moving ahead. The kids we do have are pumped."

The the move from one game encompassing all of the levels of football to three has also seen more players get the opportunity to play at the Senior Bowl. The three games will see 170 players take part this year.

While the North won the six- and nine-man games a year ago, the South has won the 12-man game for eight straight years.

"I think the North is fairly hungry. It's been awhile since they won the game and I get the sense that they really want to bring it home, especially on their home turf," said Buettner who said all of the South players in all three games were doing some off-field bonding. "It's still North versus South and there's still that team concept. We've all been our supporting each other."

There were two other players from the Moose Jaw High School Football League on the final South roster — Swift Current running back Austin LaRochelle and Weyburn defensive back Reece Williams.

The nine-man game will begin at 10 a.m., the six-man game at 1 p.m. and the 12-man game at 4 p.m. All three games are at Griffiths Stadium at the University of Saskatchewan.

Organizations: Moose Jaw High School Football League, University of Saskatchewan

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Swift Current Griffiths Stadium

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