Macleans: A prairie football phenomenon

A small Alberta high school keeps punching above its weight
by Colby Cosh

“I told my wife last week: you can have the baby any day but Friday,? says Darryl Salmon, head coach of the Raymond Comets high school football team. Stephanie Salmon was due to deliver the couple’s second child on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Her husband’s team had a home game on Oct. 14—a “nothing game,? as even school athletic director Todd Heggie admits. The Comets, 4-2 against provincial Tier I competition, had already secured a spot in the playoffs. Two bye weeks for the team lay ahead, leaving plenty of time for the baby to arrive without disruption.

And Coach Salmon is, frankly, not short of help coaching his squad—not in Raymond, Alta., which generally has a few ex-Comets hanging around who played college or pro football. Fans of Canadian university football will remember Salmon as the starting quarterback for the University of Alberta Golden Bears of 2004, when the team went 7-1 and returned to the Canada West championship game after a 20-year absence. As a head coach, Salmon is not easy to pick out on the sideline, spending most of his time in close contact with his QB while others tend to the complicated choreography of line play and defence.

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