CFC National Playoff Countdowns & Predictions (AB): “We’re hoping the experience they have gained in big games will give us the edge”


Today, CFC continues its exclusive coverage of “National Playoff Countdowns & Predictions”.  Some of these teams are currently ranked in the ‘CFC 50‘ high school poll this season.

In this next installment, Darcy Ogonoski, Head Coach of Austin O’Brien Crusaders gives his thoughts and outlook to the team’s Alberta Schools Athletic Association Tier 2 semi-final against St. Joseph Celtics on Saturday.


It may have been a couple of years, but Austin O’Brien Crusaders remember their last meeting with their Tier 2 opponents, St. Joseph Celtics.

“We last faced the Celtics in provincial quarterfinal action in 2012 and were able to defeat an outstanding Celtics team,” recalled Crusaders Head Coach Darcy Ogonoski of the previous matchup.

On Saturday, both teams will face each other once again in the postseason.  However, it will be in the Tier 1 semi-finals.

The Crusaders know what to expect from the Celtics but also plan to be prepared for anything.

“The Celtics are always a very physical group and very well coached so the games are always close,” assessed Ogonoski.  “We anticipate a strong run game from the Celtics and a very aggressive defense so we will have to be well prepared mentally and physically.”

For the Crusaders to be successful, they must contain the Celtics offensive dynamic duo.

“The Celtics running back Tylor Rempel has been a focal point of their offense so stopping him will be the key,” evaluated Ogonoski. “They also have an outstanding quarterback Alex Noel that can really spread the ball around so we are dealing with a very well balanced attack.”

Jake Schimpf 3



Overall, Ogonoski said that players on both sides of the ball will be expected to turn in some of their season’s best performances against the Celtics.

“Our defensive line and linebackers are going to have to play exceptional well to shut down the run game and put pressure on the quarterback,” offered the Crusaders Head Coach.  “Offensively, we will rely on our offensive line to open holes for Julian Rivera, Jake Schimpf and Isaac Nianda.”

“They will also need to give Ryan Foster time to take advantage of their defense through the air.”

Seeon Smith

With veteran experience on the team, the Crusaders hope it will be their secret weapon in this semi-final battle.

“A number of our players have won two Provincial Championships already and we hoping the experience they have gained in big games will give us the edge in the upcoming game,” added Ogonoski.

However, one thing that neither team can control is the weather and that could prove the difference in who comes out on top on Saturday.

“With the snow already on the ground, just getting in quality practice time is always a challenge,” said Ogonoski.

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2014 RECORD: 2-5
HEAD COACH: Darcy Ogonoski (23rd season)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Seeon Smith (offensive line), Austin Ferenac (offensive line),Emerson Nashman (offensive line), Christian Oyson (offensive line), Ryan Foster (quarterback), Julien Rivera (running back),Isaac Nianda (running back), Jake Schimpf (running back/defensive back), Tristan Thompson (defensive back), Curtis Blissett (defensive back), Liam Maxwell (linebacker), Logan Gozjlko (linebacker)




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