Raiders showcase skills at ABC Bowl

By Jamie Harkins

June 1, 2017 12:00 AM

ALBERTA LINEBACKERS Raiders linebackers Jerome Florizone, left, and Brody McPherson suited up with Team Alberta in the ABC Border Bowl tournament at the University of Lethbridge on Saturday. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO

A couple of Holy Rosary High School Raiders football players have taken their game to the next level.
Middle linebacker Jerome Florizone and outside linebacker Brody McPherson competed with Team Alberta in the ABC Border Bowl tournament against Team B.C. at the University of Lethbridge on Saturday.
Florizone suited up in the Grades 9 and 10 Rising Selects contest, while McPherson hit the field in the Grades 10 and 11 Rising Stars match.
“It was a very tough game,” said McPherson, 17. “They were a good team. We made some mistakes, but I also think they made some mistakes. It was closer in the beginning, but (they scored) a touchdown off the first drive. That hit us and probably slowed us down, took our momentum away right off the bat, and took the intensity off our team.”
The ABC Border Bowl brings together the top football players in Grades 6 to 12 from Alberta and B.C., for a series of games where athletes can showcase their talents before junior and post-secondary coaches and scouts.
The purpose of having younger age groups compete is it allows the players to be identified earlier, and their progress tracked as they advance through the divisions.
McPherson said the ABC Border Bowl featured the best against the best, making the games a much tougher test than regular Wheatland Football League matches they play with the Raiders.
He said this was his second time playing in the competition, after earning a spot in the Rising Selects game last year, but having to adjust to new teammates before fighting together for a winning outcome remained the same.
“It’s just given me more experience and more courage to try different things,” said Florizone, 14. “I hope to get my name out there. Make a future for myself and make it worth it for what I’m doing.”
McPherson said the opportunity to play with Team Alberta gave them the chance to work with the best coaches in the province, including members of the University of Calgary Dinos’ staff.
He said their teaching during the game and at a team practice two weeks beforehand allowed the players to fine tune their reads, steps and drops into the zone.
“It was also just meeting new people and getting to know different teammates,” said Florizone. “We got to know different coaches too. They ask you to keep in contact with them during the week off, between the game and practice, and just tell you to have fun and do your best.”

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