Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

High school football fever hits record-high 30 teams

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AN all-time high of 30 teams has been reached by the Winnipeg High School Football League, which will open play this fall with 30 teams.

The league announced Tuesday it has expanded by five teams with the Vincent Massey Trojans and St. Norbert Celtics teams in Winnipeg and three teams from Brandon's high schools, including Vincent Massey Vikings, Neelin Spartans, and Crocus Plains Plainsmen. The Crocus Plains team is returning to 12-man football for the first time since taking a leave of absence due to declining numbers after the 2000 season.

"Our guys are extremely excited about this and the guys are ready to go," said Jamie Freiheit, who co-coaches Crocus along with Kevin Boyd. The Brandon teams have all been playing in the Rural Manitoba Football League, which plays the nine-man game.

"We actually started a 12-man league within our nine-man frame and it went really well. The Winnipeg High School Football League is a premier football league and it's going to be great for our guys to be able to participate in that league, showcase their talents and see where they fit in."

WHSFL commissioner Ron Gustafson said all WHSFL teams share the feeling that the more kids who play football, the better.

"It's great for our league to have continued growth and we're looking forward to having St. Norbert, Vincent Massey Winnipeg and the three Brandon teams, especially Crocus, to welcome them back after a few years' absence," Gustafson said.

The league will announce in May which teams will compete in the WHSFL's three divisions, but Freiheit said the Crocus Plains team is expecting to play in the Vidruk (AA) division.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 4, 2009 C4

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