8 Lethbridge football players heading to Team Alberta U18 selection camp

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Lethbridge will be well represented on the football field at the Team Alberta U18 selection camp later this month. Eight athletes from schools across the city are among the hopefuls around the province looking for a spot on one of two rosters. As Erik Bay tells us, the local players are hoping to show what Lethbridge can do on the gridiron – May 4, 2022

It was an anxious time for Chinook High School offensive lineman Ryder Blasco as he waited to see if he made Team Alberta’s U18 final selection camp.

“(I was) refreshing Instagram every five seconds to see if they’ve posted (the roster) yet,” Ryder said.

In the end, Ryder and seven other Lethbridge football players, two more Chinook, three people from Catholic Central High School and two from Lethbridge Collegiate Institute (LCI), will fight for a spot on one of two 40-man teams that will be selected over the May long weekend.

Read more: ‘There’s so much talent’: Football skills camp touches down in Lethbridge

After making it through south evaluations with teammates Ryder and linebacker Mitchell Qually, running back Gage Blasco expects competition will only get harder.

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“There were so many kids there,” Gage said. “It was about 500 (at evaluations) and it got cut down to about 144, and now they have to cut that down to 80.”

One advantage the local athletes feel they have is chemistry.

After catching passes for LCI and at south evaluations, wideout Hudson Procee will be joined by Lethbridge Rams quarterback Marcus Christos in Red Deer for final camp.

“Lots of the plays that we had that were similar we almost completed 100 per cent of the time,” Procee said about evaluations. “It was really nice having a familiar quarterback and I knew he would put it where it needed to be.”

Read more: Lethbridge group submits application to join Canadian Junior Football League, could hit the field in 2022

Ben Amantea, Sawyer Leith and Noah Kinniburgh are all heading to the camp from acting head coach Dustin Ledsham’s Catholic Central team.

He believes the experience will pave the way for more southern Alberta stars.

“We’ve got three kids from our school and they’re on your team and they do the same program as you, the same workouts,” Ledsham said. “The work ethic is there and they learn from it.”

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The end goal is making a team, but the boys also want to show the selections from the north that southern Alberta can move the chains.

“They get more exposure than schools down here, but this is a chance to get our school on the map,” Ryder Blasco said.

One of the teams chosen in the camp will compete for a national championship in Kelowna, while the other will play in the Western Challenge against B.C. and Saskatchewan.

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