A pair of Airdrie Raiders football players ended their high-school level career in a big way Dec. 9, taking part in the annual Alberta-British Columbia (ABC) Border Bowl Dec. 9 in Chilliwack, B.C.
Nils Haeni and Graham Litwiller walked away with the win, conquering B.C. 28-7, and with hopes perspective university and junior teams took notice.
“This was a good game to have it be my final one in my final high school year,” Litwiller said. “(It was great) getting to play against top-tier athletes for my final high school year game.
“That was not exactly an easy team to beat or play against, it was a good challenge. (Winning) was an amazing feeling…just knowing how hard you worked, not just in the insertion camp, but throughout your whole football career.”
For Haeni, this was the defensive lineman’s third time taking part in the annual ABC Bowl, after playing Grade 9 and 10.
“It was an extremely professional experience…. The football was just amazing, there was a lot of talent there,” Haeni said. “It gave me more of an understanding of the talent that is going to be at the next level and how I am going to have to step up my game to compete at that level.”
Haeni was a force in his third ABC Bowl, playing both defensive end and tackle, even though his preference is to play as an end. The lineman said it doesn’t matter which postition he plays, as long as he gets to play.
The lineman finished the game with a pair of sacks, a striped ball, a knockdown and a handful of tackles.
Haeni said he’s keeping his option open and has yet to commit to a university or junior squad.
The 2017 ABC Bowl was Litwiller’s only experience in the annual game. The Chestermere product said he had opportunities to take part in past games, but chose to focus on his midget career instead.
As a receiver, Litwiller didn’t collect many yards but reeled in a handful of catches and made some key blocks leading to touchdowns for his teammates.
Litwiller said it was important for him to showcase what he could do without the ball as well as what he could do with it.
“I wanted to contribute as much as I could, be it through blocking or catching the ball and running with it, just to show what I can do,” he said.
Litwiller intends on trying out with the Canadian Junior Football League’s Calgary Colts next season as he will be staying in Calgary to attend Mount Royal University. He added he has considered a potential university football career down the road.