A former Cold Lake Royal is set to compete with some of the top high school football players in the province this May at the 2016 Senior Bowl.
Curtis Petkau was one of eight offensive linemen selected to the north all-star team roster after a successful try out camp April 8-10 in Edmonton.
“Going into camp I was a little nervous, but confident at the same time,” said Petkau, a 17-year-old who just wrapped up his sixth season as a member of the Royals.
“It was the highest level of football I have played so far. The defensive players were aggressive and strong and playing at a really high caliber.”
The Senior Bowl, which will take play on May 23 in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, is an all-star game featuring the best Grade 12 football players in the province. The CFL's Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos support the game, with the north team wearing the Eskimos green and gold and the south team sporting the Stampeders red and black.
Petkau and several teammates made the trek down to Foote Field in Edmonton earlier this month to compete against the best high school football players in the northern half of the province over the course of a three-day camp.
Players were taken through hitting drills and one-on-one battles before working on some running plays, passing plays and everything else in the playbook.
“We got an email with all of the plays listed and had to go into the tryout knowing what to do and how to do it. I had a few days to go over them and memorize them. It took me a little while to bring them into my brain and then it was all good,” said Petkau.
Workouts and skill testing took place in the mornings and were followed by a variety of drills being run by junior and university players from the city. Over 40 coaches packed the stands to focus on selecting players to the north squad.
“I went in thinking I had a pretty good chance (of making the team),” said Petkau. “I have been in the gym training with some of the seniors and helping out with some of the bantam players. I also do rugby, which has helped me out a lot.”
While the tryout was a tough, intense three days for Petkau, the work doesn't stop now that he has made the team. He plans on continuing to hit the gym to improve his strength, speed and endurance to ensure he can perform at the highest level possible come May 23.
“I'm definitely going to be working on my speed and decreasing my 40 yard sprint time. I am also going to get stronger in the upper body so I can push around the defensive players a little more and work on getting more explosive and improving on my endurance,” said Petkau.
A lot of junior football teams will be in attendance at the Senior Bowl looking to pick up players for the upcoming season. The game is an opportunity for players to further their football careers, something Petkau hopes he can accomplish.
“I have definitely been thinking about playing football in my future. I am hoping to go play football and rugby in Edmonton next season.”