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Tag: Faith Zachar

Faith Zachar accepts a floral arrangement from Pincher Creek Mustangs football players Will Schoening, Eric Clarke and Jake Reser.

Pincher Creek Mustangs end season with awards

The Pincher Creek Mustangs Football Club held its annual year-end banquet and awards ceremony Nov. 18 at the Pincher Creek Legion. The potluck supper event included players, coaches and parents from the club’s peewee, bantam and senior teams.

Plaques were awarded to 12 peewee team members. They were: Dillon Haidle (best offensive lineman), Dylan Anderson (best defensive lineman), Emmitt Smith (most improved player), Jake Reser (team spirit), Grady Dwyer (heart), Robbie Rochon (most valuable player), Drayton Shot Both Sides (rookie of the year), Lily Baillie (best defensive back), Ashton Webb (best running back), Seth Calf (best receiver), Robbie Rochon (offensive star) and Glen Hurst (defensive star).

 

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Ty Borys – youth wearing dusty rose sweatshirt and a backwards cap – holds a large trophy and two plaques. With him are Clayton LeJan, Chuck Clarke and Sean Oliver.

Hoisting his awards, Mustangs bantam football player Ty Borys poses with assistant coach Clayton LeJan, left, assistant coach Chuck Clarke and head coach Sean Oliver. Ty received the Patrick Zachar Trophy for Spirit, as well as defensive star honours. He’ll move on to the senior team next season.

Photo by Dave Lueneberg

For the bantams, the award winners were: Eric Clarke (MVP), Jack Simard (rookie of the year), Ty Borys (heart, defensive star), Beau Rector-Hunink (best defensive lineman), Jakob Klinec (offensive star), Boston LeJan (best offensive lineman), Ethan Albas (best receiver), Kayson Harrison (best running back), Lander Hurst (best defensive back), Jaxon Prince (most improved) and Kaydon Harrison (team spirit).

No formal awards were handed out to the senior team, but players were recognized with certificates and footballs for their memorable efforts.

“If you’re on a football team, you really should have a football,” said head coach Adam Schoening, who doubles as the club’s vice-president.

One of the highlights of the evening was a presentation of flowers to the club’s current president, Faith Zachar, for her continued support of the football program in Pincher Creek. Faith has been involved since the Mustangs’ inception back in 1995.

 

 

 

Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

Jack Simard, wearing a white and blue Mustangs football jersey catches a football while other players collide to his right.

Mustangs recruit enough athletes to field bantam football team

A few weeks ago, the Pincher Creek Mustangs football program was in jeopardy of being unable to field a team for the 2023-24 regular season because of changes to Football Canada’s roster rules.

Under the new rules, teams looking to compete in nine-a-side football needed 17 players registered before the season began, otherwise they’d be ineligible for regulation play.

Fortunately, the Mustangs were able to recruit enough players for their bantam team to compete in league action this year.

“We were thrilled to get the players we needed to field the bantam team,” says Faith Zachar, president of the Pincher Creek and District Mustangs Football Society.

“We had been recruiting since April when we had our Stamps Camp, and more recently, we started recruiting at all the schools and putting the word out on Facebook. When we finally came up with the last recruit we needed, we were just ecstatic.”

The team’s season opener was against the Lethbridge Rams Gold on Sept. 9 at the University of Lethbridge Stadium. Despite a solid effort, the Mustangs fell by a score of 34-6. 

Pincher Creek’s home opener was played this past Saturday at Matthew Halton Field, where the Mustangs faced the Lethbridge Coyotes in a nail-biter of a contest.

The Mustangs played well, even leading 14-0 partway through the third quarter, but the determined Coyotes mounted a comeback, capped by a touchdown with just 1.6 seconds left, to win the game 21-20.  

Despite the 0-2 record, Faith is thrilled with what she has seen from both new and returning Mustangs athletes on and off the field.

“They’re all so determined to play and help each other out, especially the ones returning to the team. You can tell they’re all becoming very close, very quickly,” she says.

 

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Sean Oliver, head coach of the bantam Mustangs, is also happy with this relatively inexperienced club.

“What’s nice to see as a coach is that they are playing to win every play. They may not have the experience, but they compete hard and aren’t afraid to go up against anybody,” he says.

“There’s a really good trajectory with these kids, and I’ve been really impressed with how well the boys have worked and how they’ve soaked up everything that I can teach them as a coach.”

Despite being unable to recruit a sufficient number of athletes for the peewee and senior clubs this year, both teams will be competing in exhibition games organized by the Mustangs throughout the fall.

Confirmed dates are posted to the Mustangs group page on Facebook, with more to be added later. 

The hope is that this time next year, the Mustangs will have a sufficient number of registered athletes for all three teams to compete in league play.

Based on the current makeup of the senior team, Faith believes the Mustangs should have enough bantam athletes moving up to the senior level to qualify for regular season play next year.

The same applies to peewee players moving up to the bantam level to meet roster needs, so the recruitment focus moving forward will be primarily on peewee athletes.

Two football players, white jersey carrying the ball

Football Canada’s new roster rules shroud Mustangs in uncertainty

For three decades, Mustangs football has been a staple of support for the development of children in Pincher Creek. However, new roster rules are jeopardizing the program’s operations.

In January, the Mustangs received an email from Football Alberta stating that Football Canada had made changes to its roster rules that took effect Jan. 1.

In accordance with the new roster rules, teams looking to play nine-a-side football, with less than 17 registered players before the season starts, will be ineligible for league play in the 2023-24 season. 

Football Canada has informed provincial football associations of the changes and these associations will enforce the new rules accordingly.

“I’m just so worried that we’re going to lose football,” says Faith Zachar, president of the Pincher Creek and District Mustangs Football Society.

“For 29 years, we’ve had a lot of children go through the program and we have seen them grow and support each other, while learning the game.”

“We have second-generation players now,” she says. “Their fathers played way back when we first started, and now their children are playing, so I think that shows that it’s been a real benefit to the town.” 

The program has struggled to recruit local youths to register for football since the Covid-19 pandemic, but has managed to get by. Now, without community involvement, Mustangs operations will be heavily impeded.

 

Ace of spades card on ad for Chase the Ace at the Pincher Creek Legion

 

Currently, the Mustangs boast senior, bantam and peewee football teams. However, none of them have enough registered players to be eligible for league play. Five seniors, nine bantams and five peewees are currently registered.

If the Mustangs fail to register enough players for at least one of the teams by Aug. 26, it will be the first time in the program’s history it has failed to field a team, with the exception of the pandemic period.

“We’ve had a few years where maybe we lost one of the teams because we didn’t have enough players, but we always had at least two teams in the league that we’re in, and I’d hate to see it all go down,” Faith says. 

What the suspension of play could mean for the Mustangs remains unclear, but failing to have a team play in the regular season would do the program and its athletes no favours.

Cord Delinte, a Mustangs alumnus, can certainly speak to the positive impact the Mustangs can have on a youth’s upbringing. 

Having played a successful five-year football career at the University of Regina, the skills and lessons Cord picked up with the Mustangs took him all the way to the 2019 CFL Western Regional combine.

“The Mustangs had a huge impact on me growing up,” he says. “It kept me out of a ton of trouble, and obviously brought me to a much higher level of football, and I owe all that to the Mustangs.”

He emphasizes that community involvement and support are necessary for the Mustangs to thrive, and that in return, the program can help support local youths in ways that go beyond football.

 

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“I found that when I played, there were so many kids that were kind of oddballs or didn’t fit in or had trouble socially, and then they found this outlet where everybody came together as a team,” he says.

“The beautiful thing about football is there’s a spot for every kid, every body type has a position in football, and I think it’s beautiful when you can actually get all these different kids together.”

For parents with concerns about safety, Faith offers assurance that the program takes the safety of its athletes very seriously.  She notes that coaches are trained in safe contact and proper tackling techniques, and that the program’s history of player injuries is sparse. 

“We do everything we can to keep everybody safe,” she says.   

The Mustangs hold practices every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., for all three teams, at Matthew Halton Field. Those interested in registering to join the Mustangs can do so at their next practice on Aug. 26. 

It costs $275 to register your child for the season and KidSport support is available for those that are eligible for financial assistance. Kidsport Pincher Creek can be reached at 403-627-4322.

If you’re interested in registering your child for the Mustangs but can’t make it to practice this week, you can contact Faith Zachar at 403-627-7751 or faithzachar@hotmail.com, or Shannon Schoening at 403-795-5710 or uc6ranch@gmail.com.

Group of young football players pose at spring camp

Mustangs to host Stampeders Spring Football Camp

From April 28 to 29, Pincher Creek Mustangs Football will host its annual Stampeders Spring Football Camp, for southern Alberta’s aspiring young players, at Matthew Halton football field.

Athletes from grades 3 to 11 are invited to register for the camp, where Tre Roberson and Derek Wiggan of the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders will run drills and teach the fundamentals of football.

Players will be divided into groups based on age and experience. Younger athletes will learn basic stances and how to catch and throw the ball. Bantams and senior-level players will focus more on learning various plays and the intricacies of the game.

Faith Zachar, president of the Mustangs, has been running camps such as these for about 25 years. 

 

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“These camps teach the kids about football, but it’s also a chance to build their confidence and make them understand that there are opportunities to get into the CFL or university football if they work hard and learn the game,” Faith says.

She notes Mustangs alumnus Cord Delinte as a prime example of a player using what he learned at camps like the one coming up to go on to greater opportunities. 

Cord went on to have a great five-year football career, primarily as a defensive back, at the University of Regina. He received multiple all-star nods during his varsity career, and was even invited to the 2019 CFL Western Regional Combine.

Faith adds that kids will gain not just a greater understanding of football from the camp, but also bonds and life lessons that will follow them forever.

 

 

“I think football is vital to small communities,” she says. “The camaraderie, the teamwork and the friendships that these kids will develop are things that will stick with them the rest of their lives.”

The camp costs $75 per child for the full two days, or $50 if a child wishes to attend only one of the two days. Registration will be accepted right up to the day of the camp.

Each participating athlete is expected to take a water bottle, cleats and runners to the camp.

To preregister or for more information, you can contact Faith Zachar at 403-627-7751 or faithzachar@hotmail.com, or Shannon Schoening at 403-795-5710 or uc6ranch@gmail.com.

Three women, Faith Zachar with grey hair, glasses and purple sweater, Alecia Williams with long blonde hair, turquoise ball cap and blue winter coat, and Rhonda Oczkowsi with shoulder-length dark brown hair and two-tone brown shirt, hold a giant cheque

Donation helps Pincher Creek kids do sports

Representatives of the Moon Shadow Run committee presented a cheque for $1,400 to Pincher Creek’s KidSport chapter this winter.

KidSport is a charity that helps Canadian youths and their families overcome financial hurdles to becoming more active.

“I believe it’s vital to the town because we want to keep children involved in sports and recreational activities,” says Faith Zachar, a member of committees for both KidSport and the Moon Shadow Run.

“It’s important that we raise some money so that KidSport can assist kids with getting into a sport, whether it’s baseball, basketball, soccer or whatever.”

 

 

Funds were raised in September 2022 during the annual Moon Shadow Run, which has been a town tradition since 2015.

“Getting people out on our town path as a whole family, and knowing it’s supporting a great cause, is very rewarding,” says Alecia Williams, who chairs the Moon Shadow Run committee. “It’s so much fun.”

The event is a fun family run for all ages, featuring 2.5-kilometre, five-kilometre and 10-kilometre routes on gentle rolling shale trails along the creek.

Both Faith and Alecia were adamant about how important it is to them to not only help kids get active through KidSport, but to see them participate in the run as well.

 

 

“Running for me is a great, easy way to take care of my mental and physical health, so it’s important to me that kids are active in that way and reaping those benefits,” says Alecia.

The Moon Shadow Run will return to Pincher Creek in September, so if you are interested in participating, make sure to keep an eye out for details.

 

Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta

 

 

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