Both public high schools in Grande Prairie will continue to play football together. The decision has been made to again merge the teams from the Composite and Charles Spencer High School under the Warriors banner in 2019.

Three teams in the Mighty Peace Football League had to sit the 2018 season out due to a lack of players, including the Charles Spencer Mavericks. Some of their remaining players and coaches joined the Warriors in the middle of September, which head coach Travis Miller says proved beneficial.

“Both teams were struggling with numbers at the beginning of the year… After the 2018 season was over it became evident that the best thing for both schools would be to have a combined team and give both the kids and coaches the best scenario for football in 2019.”

The teams were also merged in 2014 and 2015 after Charles Spencer first welcomed students. This season started out rough for the blended team, but they managed to get a few wins towards the end and made it to the regional championship. Miller attributes part of the success to the combined group of coaching staff.

“The core group of coaches that were coaching with us in 2014 and 2015, a few of them went and started the Charles Spencer program, so it was almost like a match made in heaven when we came back together this year.”

Numbers don’t seem to be as much of a concern going into the 2019 season. Miller says more than 50 players have already signed up, noting that registration for football is often cyclical and less indicative of a greater trend.

With so many students looking to play, the plan is to run both a junior and senior team like the St. Joseph Celtics. The junior team would be made up of younger and newer players to the sport who would take part in some exhibition games. Miller says the goal is to get them off the bench in the hopes of advancing them to the senior team down the road.

“The biggest thing for our program is that if you’re going to Charles Spencer or if you’re going to the Composite High School and you want to play football, there is a spot for you and we’re doing our best to make sure that everybody gets the opportunity to play and develop.”

The decision to keep the teams combined will be made on a year-by-year basis. Most coaches from the past season are expected to return in the fall.