The long wait is finally over for the Saskatchewan Selects football program this weekend.

The Selects’ Varsity Team will hit the field under the lights on Friday night to take on the California MB Elite in the opening game of the 2019 International Pigskin Classic.

Caronport’s Drake Douglas said the team is ready to go for the big opening game.

“I’m very excited, this game will be like the TV show Friday Night Lights,” he said.

The game will serve as an opening ceremony for the tournament, which features teams from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Mexico, California, West Virginia, and of course, Texas.

The Selects have been practicing together for four months now and the work put in all comes down to the next three days.

“We’ve got to work on our snap counts, we’ve been jumping offside a lot on offence, but other than that, we’re pretty good to go,” said Douglas.

Douglas credits the coaching staff with getting the team ready to go, “We’ve got the best coaches that you’ll ever play for, like [Addison Richards], he’s the best receivers coach I’ve ever had. All the coaches, love them all,” he added.

The Varsity Selects hit the field against the California MB Elite at Wheatley Heights Sports Complex on Friday night at 7 p.m. Click here to tune in live to the game.

Selects Continue to Prepare

The 10-and-under, 12U and 14U Selects will be in attendance on Friday night before they kick-off the tournament themselves on Saturday.

Swift Current’s Jarron Reid with the 12U Selects said he’s really excited to get on the field, “I’ve been on this team for four years and it’s a good environment and I just love playing football down here,” he said.

The 12U Selects will hit the field against Score Mexico for their opening game on Saturday morning at 8 a.m.

“We’ve just got to work on getting hyped up, focusing on what we need to do and just working on our plays and work ethic,” said Reid. “We’re just a bunch of teammates having fun and we have a good connection.”

The four months of training will hopefully lead to some hardware coming back with the Selects.

Moose Jaw’s Keaton Belsher said after a slow start to practice on Thursday, the 10U Selects need to come prepared this weekend.

“We were all pretty tired from [the travel], so we didn’t really have the greatest of practices,” he said.

Belsher added that despite needing to rise up the intensity level, the team is looking strong, “We’re good at passing and running, the defence is good, we have a couple of fast players… I’ve been waiting for this for three months,” he said.

The 10U Selects square off with the North Oak Cliff Eagles on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. to open the tournament.

Selects Preview Feb22 2

The 14U Selects will be the last of the four teams to hit the field when they take on Score Mexico on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Weyburn’s Ryder Backlun said he has a good feeling about the team’s chances heading into the weekend, “We’re very ready and I’m really confident that we’re going to go a long way in this tournament,” he said.

Backlun is in his first season with the Selects and he’s taking in everything that playing football in the heart of Football Country is like.

“I’m very excited, it’s a great experience,” said Backlun. “I’m just so hyped for the tournament.”

The tournament runs through Sunday with the next opponent for each team dictated by the results of Saturday mornings contests.