A football tradition returns to Sydenham High School Friday night when the La Salle Knights come to town to take on the Golden Hawks in the 10th annual Bubba Bowl. The game(s) mark the return of the event, named for former player Alex (Bubba) Turcotte who sadly died of heart failure in May of 2001 after three years on the Sydenham junior team. The game was not played in 2015 or 2016 because the field needed work. In one way this year’s tilt could also be dubbed the Hammer Bowl, as Sydenham High junior coach Karl Hammer will be taking on his dad, also named Karl, who is the coach of the La Salle juniors. “Yeah, it’s the 3rd taking on the 4th,” Hammer said, laughing. “But really, this is for the kids. “I’ve been around since the first one but many of these kids may never again experience having 1,000 people watch them play. “This will be something they can look back on.”
The juniors may be looking for a bit of payback. In the last Bubba Bowl, these same La Salle Knights won 14-12. But going into this game, the Golden Hawks are 1-1 while the Knights are 2-0. “We should be competitive,” Hammer said. But if nothing else, look for either III or IV to hold the hammer, as both are frequent opponents in Bavarian Curling (aka Eisstock) as well. On the senior side, coach Jim Latimer is cautiously optimistic. Sydenham won the previous Bubba Bowl 28-21 but things are a little different this year. The Golden Eagles are 1-1 while the Knights are 2-0. “La Salle is probably the No. 1 seed this year,” Latimer said. “And we’re a very young team. “But a lot of our Grade 11s played in the final last year so we’ll see if we can hang with them.”
On offence, Latimer said to look for “stellar running back” Simon Cook and receiver Nick Vankoughnett. On D, he said Jordon Leslie and Brady McEwen are “outstanding young linebackers. “And we look to Colin Bowman for overall team leadership.” And while there’s very little Bubba Bowl experience on the Golden Hawks side, “they know what it’s all about,” Latimer said. “They watched it and it’s a big deal for them.” Oh, and one other thing. This will be the first Bubba Bowl under the new permanent lights that athletes, students, coaches and teachers worked so hard to raise funding for.
“This will be a little bit different,” Latimer said. “Remember those noisy generators we used to have?” Yes, we do Jim.