By Ryan McCracken on October 21, 2016.
Crescent Heights Vikings quarterback Alex Glauser isn’t quite ready to call it a year, let alone a career.
The Grade 12’s arm will lead the Vikings into the Rangeland Football Conference semifinal against the Strathmore Spartans tonight at 5 p.m. in the Methanex Bowl with a ticket to the provincial playoffs and the RFC title game on the line.
“I’m definitely playing to win. I love the boys and stuff and I play for fun, but in the end I want a provincial title so I’ve got to work for that constantly,” said Glauser, adding there’s an air of optimism surrounding the squad. “Everyone has a bit more enthusiasm than usual so it’s fun, people are prepared.”
Vikings coach Dustin Ressler added there’s a lot at stake for veteran players, as a win guarantees more football in their final year, while a loss ensures the end.
“It’s not only another crack possibly at Hat High, or Brooks … but also provincials. Strathmore is Tier 3 and if we lost to them we’re not playing in November,” he said. “That’s really goal No. 1, beat them and make provincials again.”
Glauser has been integral to the team’s success in his third year behind centre. The mobile quarterback rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns through four regular season games this year, and has proven his capability as a dual threat with 442 passing yards and eight touchdowns in the air, including four in a 48-27 victory in Strathmore.
Nearly half of Glauser’s passing yards have gone into the hands of his twin brother, Adrian â€” who has collected 200 on top of four touchdowns. The Vikings also boast another strong threat on the ground in runningback Creed Willette, who gained 472 yards and one touchdown.
While the team has largely been bolstered by its veteran talent, Glauser says the contributions that have led to success span the lineup.
“The rookies are really good. There’s a couple out there who are just doing fantastic,” he said. “They’re catching balls when they need to and running hard.”
In Friday’s other semifinal under the lights at the Methanex Bowl, the top seeded Hat High Mohawks will host the Brooks Buffalos looking for a ticket to the RFC final, and a shot at a third straight championship.
While the Mohawks picked up a 20-7 win over Brooks to open the season, head coach Quinn Skelton says the team is taking a cautious approach to the game knowing full well the back-to-back champions have a target on their back.
“The kids are real excited about it but I’ve got to admit the nerves are there too,” said Skelton. “They’ve got some very talented athletes on that ball club … We’re confident going in but the boys also respect the fact Brooks is a team that can put up some points.”
Mohawks quarterback Sanjay Grover has connected for 13 touchdown passes and 884 yards on the season, while wide receiver Simon Frelick has 317 yards in the air and six touchdown catches.
Hat High boasts a trio of threats on the ground, with 462 yards out of Taylor Winter, 330 yards from Zander Heidinger and 208 from Carter Schlenker.