The Clavet Cougars celebrate their victory November 11

The Clavet Cougars are back on top of the 6-Aside football world after beating the Watrous Wildcats 46-40 in the provincial final played in Clavet on Saturday, November 11.

The hotly-contested match between two very good teams was not decided until the final minute.

Clavet Cougars’ Brady Kazuska prepares to tackle Watrous Wildcats’ Burke Bartko. Kazuska also had two key interceptions in the game.

Clavet couldn’t have asked for a better start, grabbing the momentum right from the opening kickoff. Watrous tried an on-side kick; but the ball bounced into the hands of  Cougars’ returner Jackson Shabatoski, who was  able to take it to the house. With a successful convert Clavet had an early 8-0 lead.

Clavet’s Jackson Shabatoski goes all out in an effort to catch a pass while being closely covered

They built on that lead as Shabatoski caught two touchdown passes and quarterback Waylon Blacklock ran for another.

Watrous began to claw their way back in the second quarter. Kade Armstrong scored on a one-yard plunge to get the visitors on the board. With just a few seconds left on the clock, Watrous was on Clavet’s one yard line again. This time the Cougars defence was able to stop Armstrong to take a 28-8 lead into half-time.

Jackson Shabotski gets the Clavet Cougars off to an early lead, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown

That stop would gain significance as the Wildcats battled back in the second half, drawing closer with pair of rushing touchdown by Burke Bartko.

Clavet quarterback Waylon Blacklock scored to give the home squad a 34-24 lead going into the fouth quarter.

Touchdowns by Clavet’s Shabatoski and Watrous’ Bartko and Armstong had the game tied at 40-40 with 6:13 left in the game.

Clavet Cougars’ team captains celebrate with the trophy

After a long pass to Shabatoski set the Cougars up deep in the Wildcats’ end, Clavet running back Hansen Varcoe took a pass in the flat and ran 10 yards for the winning score. The Cougars’ defence then shut down the Wildcats to give Clavet their eighth provincial title.

Clavet head coach Shaun Priel had high praise for both teams.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Priel. “They are so well-coached, we made sure we were ready. We knew they were going to be over-prepared.”

He summed up what everyone in attendance felt: “It went right to the very end. What an exciting game!”