Their rivalry is like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders of midget-age (15-17) football but the two opponents will tackle liver disease together on Saturday in honour of a former coach.
The North Winnipeg Nomads and St. Vital Mustangs, members of the Midget Football League of Manitoba, will square off in the fourth annual Stroppa Bowl charity game at noon at East Side Eagles Field (723 London, behind Kildonan East Collegiate).
It's a rematch of the 2008 MFLM championship game in which the Mustangs defeated the Nomads but the Nomads hold a 2-1 edge in Stroppa Bowl games. The game is named for former Nomads midget team coach Gary Stroppa, who succumbed to liver disease in 2005. The idea of the game came from the Mustangs coach at the time, Christian Csarati, who was also battling liver disease in 2005 but has since recovered.
While the game has supported charities in the past, this is the first year all proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Liver Foundation Manitoba.
"We've talked about how playing in this football game is giving us a chance to do something that could help other people by raising money to fight liver disease," said Trevor Pomarenski, a receiver/defensive back with the Nomads and a Grade 10 student at Maples Collegiate. "It's a real honour to play in something like this game for a man who was part of the Nomads family and did so much for the organization."
Colin Morris, president of the North Winnipeg Nomads minor football organization, said the game will include a barbecue, 50/50 draw and charge small admission fees of $2 for adults, $1 for youth aged 13 and over with no charge for children 12 and under.
"In 2006, we played it at the (Canad Inns) Stadium and we were able to raise about $2,300 for the Never Alone Foundation so this year, we'd like to do that or better for the Liver Foundation," Morris said.
"It's a part of building tradition in our midget league and support a worthy cause. It's a tremendous motivational tool for these young players to have the opportunity to give back to their community and do this in memory of somebody who was a tireless community worker and advocate for their sport."