On Sunday, Oct. 28, the Salmon Arm Atom Mustangs, ages eight and nine, played in the Southern Interior Football League’s championship final. It was a full- out clash of the titans for the entire four quarters. In the end, Kelowna’s Mission Lions defeated the Mustangs 31 – 14.
The Mustangs were disappointed after the defeat but perked up with encouragement, realizing they had just finished second in the league, the farthest any Salmon Arm Atoms team had made it before.
The league commissioner came up and shook head coach Jerrit Lindgren’s hand after the game, saying, “The score board definitely didn’t reflect the game that your guys just played.”
Lindgren says he has never had a group of young people who love the game so much.
“Looking back on the entire season from start to finish will bring a smile to my face for years to come… Half of our kids had never even held a football, let alone set foot on the field. This year we had all of the right ingredients for an excellent team; the kids all had a true passion for football, we had an excellent coaching staff consisting of Troy Henning, Rob Berke, Chris Lawson and myself, an amazing team manager, Sandy Berke, and we had tremendous support from all of our players’ parents.”
Lindgren says he could not be more proud of the team.
“They demonstrated what it means to be a Salmon Arm Mustang by learning team work, perseverance, integrity, self discipline and, most of all, how to have fun while playing a full contact sport or, what we coaches call, ‘football fun’.”
Team members were: Landon Sherwood, Shawn Morrison, Finn Rodwell, Sam Hall, Brayton Lawson, Dom Kemetzis, Ryan Berke, Teagan Mazzotta, Braidy Parkes, Sam Siarkiewicz, Nathan Davis-Lent, Cam Carelse, Torie Maurer, Kurtis Einfeld, Austin Hanna, Isaac Dodge, Evan Aldridge and Caleb Seyl.