Are We Really Playing Canada? - A Detailed Background On A Rare Visit From The Great White North

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

The first week of school is always an exhilarating time for students. School spirit always seems to be at an all-time high during this week, and there are more than a few specific reasons that go into this notion. Aside from getting to see many people that you maybe haven't spoke to in a few months and how it's the sign of being one step closer to graduation, arguably the most exciting event of the week is the Friday football game and everything that leads up to it.

Considering that the excitement is always there no matter who we're playing, the fact that we faced off against a team from Canada of all places surly intrigued many MHS students this past week. As weird as it may sound to people out of the know, Marlington did indeed play St. Joan of Arc from Barrie, Ontario - and the circumstances leading up to the decision to play them were a bit out of the ordinary to say the least.

The confusion as to why we had to schedule a game with such a random team can be attributed to the massive amount of chaos that stemmed from inaugurating our new conference, the EBC (Eastern Buckeye Conference), and some teams dropping games at the last second.

One of these teams was St. Thomas Aquinas, who broke our contract around May. This meant that the football team had to get some sort of game scheduled in the spot that St. Thomas once had; a task that seemed easier in practice to the people who had to make it happen.

Catching up with Coach Balderson about the ordeal, he explained the process behind finding the team in detail.

"We were really scrambling to find a team, and we finally just hooked up with this team from Canada who was our last available option. We thought we'd played them before (in 2010), but it turns out that we played a team with the same name from a nearby part of Canada", he adds. "We just made a random call up there and the coach was really interested."

One would think that the six hour drive from Barrie to Alliance would turn the team's head coach off on the idea of playing us, but the coach was extremely enthusiastic about coming to play. The team had to face a number of trials in order to prepare for the game at hand; such as adjusting to a number of changes to rules and customs that differ from the their own style of play.

Canadian football has a number of differences when compared to the American version. These differences include the Canadian field being ten yards longer, the team having only three downs to advance up field as opposed to our four, and the Canadian teams having one more player on the field compared to American teams.

Despite all of these changes, plus the ones that have not been mentioned, St. Joan of Arc welcomed this challenge with open arms and were glad to make the trip down here to play. The contest between the two teams was exciting throughout for a few reasons, and you can find out about the game in detail in our official report of the game.

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