The Steinbach Sabres have risen from the outhouse to the penthouse in just three years.
Steinbach won the Canad Inns Bowl on Thursday night to become the Winnipeg High School Football League's Currie A division champions.
Running back Nathan Hildebrand scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown to lead Steinbach to a 31-6 victory over the Neelin Spartans of Brandon.
It was just the third season in the WHSFL for the Sabres, who moved down a division this season after posting a 0-13 record in their first two years in the Vidruk AA division.
"It's a good thing for the Sabres," said Hildebrand, a Grade 12 player. He scored touchdowns on runs of three yards and seven yards as well as catching a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Foster Martens. "I know the first two years we didn't get any (wins), we got bumped down a level, we just showed up and we got it done."
The WHSFL will have the distinction of playing the last football games ever at Canad Inns Stadium, as there will be two more WHSFL championship games tonight.
At 5 p.m. in the Free Press Bowl (Vidruk AA division), the defending champion Grant Park Pirates will take on the Kelvin Clippers, followed at 7:30 p.m. by the ANAVETS Bowl (Potter AAA division) featuring the defending champion St. Paul's Crusaders and the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes.
"It's awesome for (just) three years in our program. We went through two winless seasons and it's just an unbelievable feeling," said Steinbach head coach Jamie Peters, whose team went 7-1 in the regular season, with its only loss to the Sisler A Spartans. "We've been doing the right things. You're trying to tell these kids keep working hard and they're not getting paid with victories, losing tight games and they start getting discouraged. You could see it in the program and the morale. This year we put it all together, we had a lot of three-year guys."
The Sabres took a commanding 17-0 lead at the half on Hildebrand's first touchdown, a 17-yard TD catch by Taylor Buhler and a 27-yard field goal from Shelby Kroeker.
They were up 31-0 before Neelin got on the board.