Northern Anarchy end a long football season on tough note in triple digit loss

Shayden Skorpata of the Northern Anarchy in Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL) action against the Calgary Rage at CKC Field in late May. The Anarchy finished up the season with a 102-0 quarterfinal playoff loss to the Edmonton Storm last Saturday in Fort Saskatchewan. The club has a big off-season ahead, looking to reverse the trend of two winless seasons where they haven’t scored a point in 10 games and given up well over 700. Gordon Anderson / Daily Herald Tribune

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The Northern Anarchy finished up the Western Women’s Canadian Football League with a 102-0 quarterfinal playoff loss to the Edmonton Storm in Fort Saskatchewan on Saturday afternoon.

“Honestly, the best game the Anarchy played all season,” Head Coach Edge Gerrick said. “The score doesn’t necessarily depict it. In the first and second quarter we were marching the ball, completing passes, we were blocking and tackling. (The Storm) were getting upset and we were getting in their heads because they thought they were going to walk all over us. And for the first two quarters they weren’t.”

Perhaps it’s best for all concerned the season end now.  Enough damage has been inflicted upon the players and the Anarchy brand itself.

The Anarchy scored zero points this season—same as last—while allowing 442 points.

In the last two weeks alone the club surrendered 235 points. The Lethbridge Steel defeated the pink and black 133-0 at CKC Field in the regular-season finale on June 1.

“As a coach, it’s a hard pill to swallow,” Gerrick said. “I have a very aggressive win mentality, so to speak, (and) it’s hard to take those big losses. It’s not an easy thing to see but you have to take some of the good and grow upon it and move forward. Life goes on. Next year is right around the corner (and) it’s back to the drawing board.”

A jump on next year

While Gerrick is hurting from a season that produced setbacks, he’s already on the recruitment trail. No doubt, he’s trying to ensure this season—and the previous— aren’t repeated again.

“I’ve already been in conversation with a few female athletes in Grande Prairie and put the bug in their ear.,” Gerrick said. “(I’m) trying to recruit and build and let them know where I stand as a coach and what we’re trying to accomplish as a team. It seems the handful of players I have spoken to seem like they’re on board and preparing themselves for next season.”

Gerrick expects to get, maybe, half the players back from the just completed season. The women he’s trying to recruit all range between the ages of 18-25-years old.

“All of them are new to the sport of football but they’re all athletes and they’ve all played recreational sports before or on competitive teams,” Gerrick said. “It brings another aspect to the Anarchy, having more players that have played organized sports. That’s a nice aspect, for sure.”

Gerrick called the recruits “athletes” and that’s something the Anarchy need, especially at the offensive skill positions. The club is in need of bodies at the catching and running positions. And Gerrick isn’t 100 per cent sure if rookie quarterback Tricia Neufeld will return.

“Obviously, I think the people we have in those positions right now are great, we just need to grow them and get the (overall) skill level up,” Gerrick said.

Planning ahead

Along with recruiting angle, the Anarchy have scheduled workouts coming up later this year. The club will host off-season workouts and team exercises. The head coach encourages anybody who wants to try out football to check out the club on all the usual social media platforms.

“We’re going to be having some off season workouts and team exercises,” Gerrick said. “(The workouts) will be happening periodically during the off-season, and between now and next January there will be several team events and workouts scheduled.”

The locations of said workouts will be spread around the Peace Region, as the club hopes to expand its reach in search for more players and more talent.

“There will be some (workouts and team exercises) at the Crosslink County Sportsplex, some in Wembley and in Grande Prairie,” Gerrick said.

“Moving forward, there are going to be a few different things going on.”

Aggressive help wanted

Northern Anarchy Head Coach Edge Gerrick is looking far and wide—high and low—for new players following a Western Women’s Canadian Football League season where the club lost five games and were outscored 442-0.

And while the soon to be second year head coach is looking for noticeable and obvious traits like speed, agility and skill, there is a bigger need for more instinctual players on the roster as Gerrick explains.

“Really, I need people who aren’t afraid of contact,” Gerrick said. “I need tacklers, I need aggressiveness. That is more lacking than the key players. Offensively, we had great people in those (skill) positions and it would be nice to have depth at those positions as well, but I need aggression.”

The basic nature of football is to collide with people at speed. The pigskin is violence mixed with stunning athleticism but the sport leaves no room for compromises or wallflowers. That’s just the way it goes. In general, football players are a different breed of athlete, opposing the basic nature of people wanting to protect themselves from physical harm.

While an athlete new to football can be taught how to take and receive a hit, there has to be a certain level of instinct—or want—to hit someone and hit ’em hard.

Who doesn’t love the thunderous smack when plastic meets plastic on the open field?

“Any coach will tell you, you can’t teach aggression,” Gerrick said. “You can teach fundamentals and the basics of any sport but aggression comes from within. (While) you have people you’re working with (who can) give (players) the tools to unleash their aggression, to get them to that mindset where they’re able to turn that switch and bring it out.”