Head coach Dave Diluzio reflects on the ‘incredible’ accomplishment a day after beating Henry Wise Wood 65-11
After capping one of the most dominant runs ever seen in Alberta high school football with a second-straight Tier I provincial title on Saturday, the Notre Dame Pride retreated to their school locker-room and . . . had a good cry.
“Just to kind of tell you what kind of team we have . . . you expect after a provincial championship game that everybody would be happy, but there were a lot of tears in the locker-room after,” said head coach Dave Diluzio. “The kids were really upset. The Grade 12s were upset — they played their last game for Notre Dame — and our Grade 11s were really upset that they’re not going to get a chance to play with these Grade 12s anymore.
“So there was a lot of emotion (Saturday) night when we got back to the school.”
Truth be told, anyone would be sad that a run like this has to end . . . for the season.
After beating cross-town rival Henry Wise Wood 65-11 on Saturday it not only secured another title for Notre Dame, it guaranteed the Pride will run its undefeated streak into next fall. The school hasn’t lost since the 2011 city final, outscoring opponents 904-96 over a 22-game winning streak, and no one has come within three touchdowns of them in a game.
Henry Wise Wood, the No. 2 ranked team in Tier I, held strong early until the Pride’s big-play ability came to the forefront. Within about two minutes and nine plays, Notre Dame scored three touchdowns — a Colton Hunchak 70-yard run, a lengthy Bo Lewis punt return that set up a 1-yard plunge by Tyler Chow, and a Ryan Volpi pick six. After that, Wise Wood’s starting QB Peter Zajdel left with an injury and it was all but over.
“Basically that was the game,” said Diluzio. “We had all the momentum and it just kind of snowballed from there.”
The Pride will return approximately 60 per cent of the roster as they try to keep the streak alive again next year. Diluzio, who called it “surreal” that season was finally over, was asked to put the winning streak into perspective.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” he explained. “We don’t talk about streaks or anything like that. I never mentioned repeating once this entire year to the kids, but now that it’s happened, it’s just incredible.
“It’s just a really unselfish bunch of kids that really bought into the team motto. We obviously have some very talented players, but everyone bought into the team-first attitude.”
EXTRA POINTS . . . The game was the 12th meeting between Notre Dame and Henry Wise Wood since 2008 (“We have so much respect for Henry Wise Wood,” said Diluzio. “Their kids are always very, very well coached. And they’re a very classy team.”) . . . Other provincial winners on Saturday — Tier II: Austin O’Brien 28, Foothills (Okotoks) 7; Tier III: Cardston 56, Ardrossan 12; Tier IV: Drumheller 42, Holy Rosary 18; 6-Man: Rimbey 55, Millwoods Christian 52; Bantam Tier III: Calgary Colts, 65, Millwoods Grizzlies 0; Bantam Tier II: Calgary Bulldogs 34, Lacombe 7.