Green is the new Gold; Saskatchewan wins the U16 Western Regional Challenge

by Braydon Stachel

July 6, Regina, SK – In a dominant performance, and what seems to be a yearly tradition for the program, Saskatchewan took home the gold medal at the 2024 U16 Western Challenge for a 4th straight time with a decisive 24-0 victory over Alberta at Leibel Field in Regina, Saskatchewan.

The game began with Alberta calling heads in the coin toss, but the coin landed on tails. Saskatchewan elected to kick off, setting the stage for a highly competitive first quarter. Both defenses were strong out of the gate, but Saskatchewan opened the scoring with 6 minutes and 33 seconds left on the clock in the first quarter. On a play-action rollout Sask QB Gavin Newell connected with wide receiver Daniel Potgieter for his first touchdown of the tournament. Kicker Traven Wiggins added the extra point, putting Saskatchewan up 7-0.

Alberta responded with an impressive run by Wenceslaus Nkeongoh, gaining a quick first down, but ultimately had to punt. The first quarter ended with Saskatchewan leading 7-0. Early in the second quarter, Saskatchewan’s running back Marcus Adams added to Saskatchewan’s total after a red zone rushing TD, followed by another successful extra point by Wiggins, extending the lead to 14-0.

With 6 minutes and 10 seconds left in the second quarter, Traven Wiggins made a field goal, pushing the score to 17-0 for Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan received the ball to start the third quarter. After a bobbled return, Daniel Potgieter made an incredible run, finally being tackled at Alberta’s 34-yard line. On the very next play, Gavin Newell handed the ball off to Marcus Adams, who ran 34 yards to score. Wiggins’ extra point was good, increasing the lead to 24-0 with 11 minutes and 27 seconds left in the third quarter.

Late in the fourth quarter, Alberta’s Owen Parker made an impressive run before being tackled at the one-yard line, losing a shoe in the process. Alberta was unable to capitalize on the incredible Owen Parker play, and turned over on downs with less than a minute left in the game. Saskatchewan eventually took a knee to run out the clock, securing their 24-0 victory and the gold medal.

MVPs of the U16 Western Challenge Gold Medal Game:

  • Team Saskatchewan:
    • Offensive MVP: Gavin Newell
    • Defensive MVP: Nickson Goldstone
  • Team Alberta:
    • Offensive MVP: Owen Parker
    • Defensive MVP: Connor Woods

Watch the full game for free HERE

Full game stats can be found HERE

Journey to the Gold Medal

Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan advanced to the gold medal game by shutting out Manitoba 38-0 in the semifinals. Marcus Adams led the charge with four touchdowns, showcasing his versatility and power. Saskatchewan’s defense was impenetrable, allowing only 28 rushing yards and 124 total yards from Manitoba.

Alberta: Alberta’s journey to the final was marked by an upset victory over British Columbia, denying the west coasters their fourth straight spot in the final. Alberta’s ground game dominated, putting up 314 rushing yards compared to BC’s 50. Xander Odenyo led the Alberta rushers with 103 yards, and Nash Marzoff, Owen Parker, and Matthew Delpeche each scored touchdowns on the ground. Alberta’s defense was equally impressive, with Nima Rahmani securing an interception return touchdown. This 28-7 victory propelled Alberta into the championship game against Saskatchewan.

Final Standings:

  1. Saskatchewan
  2. Alberta
  3. British Columbia
  4. Manitoba

Looking Ahead: Football Canada Cup

Football Saskatchewan will next host the 2024 edition of the Football Canada Cup (FCC) in Regina from July 5th to 13th. The FCC brings together eight Under 18 (U18) teams from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia to compete for the title of National Champions. Three-time champions Team Saskatchewan will be looking to continue their reign. Games will be played on Sunday, July 7, Wednesday, July 10, and Saturday, July 13.

About Football Canada

Football Canada is the national governing body for amateur football in Canada. Established in 1884, its mission is to foster the growth of football in Canada and provide leadership, coordination, and resources to help young athletes achieve their full potential. Football Canada oversees various national championships.

About Football Saskatchewan

Football Saskatchewan is the provincial governing body for amateur football in Saskatchewan. It is dedicated to promoting and developing football at all levels within the province. Football Saskatchewan provides support and resources for players, coaches, and officials, ensuring the growth and success of the sport. By organizing events like the U16 Western Challenge, Football Saskatchewan helps young athletes showcase their talents and fosters a love for the game. The organization is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all participants, encouraging teamwork, perseverance, and excellence.

About the U16 Western Challenge

The U16 Western Challenge is an annual football competition that brings together the best young talent from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Hosted by Football Saskatchewan, this year’s event ran from July 1st to 6th, with games taking place on July 3rd and July 6th

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