Cole Brydges and the Cold Lake Fighter Jets are national champions. The Canadian Major Football League finals took place last weekend and saw the Fighter Jets come away with a 35-18 victory to cap off their undefeated season.
"They came out kind of quick. They scored on one of their first couple of drives. That was actually the first time we were down all year but after that, we were pretty good on defence, we were able to stifle them, for the most part. Our offence got going fairly quickly, so we were able to keep rolling pretty much all game," Brydges explains. "It was a great atmosphere. I think there was around 1000 people there."
The wide receiver outlines how they battled their first real taste of adversity.
"Unlike the other games this year, we knew they were going to score. It was just a little unfortunate how quick it was. Everybody kept their composure because we knew how talented we were on both sides of the ball. We really weren't too sure how we would respond but we couldn't have asked for a better response," Brydges continues. "The leaders on this team just kept our heads in it and led by example."
Brydges finished the game with three receptions for nearly 40 yards but spent more time on the field than he was expecting. The team's starting safety, Damen Schaub, went down with an injury at the end of the first half and with Brydges in the backup role, he was asked to step up.
"I haven't played both sides and not coming off the field like that since I was in like peewee. It was good though, the guys gave me a break on special teams," says Brydges. "I want to do anything I can to help, so I didn't want to come off the field either. Playing time is always nice right."
The Portager says he's played a few downs this season at safety but never a full half. He adds that it felt good to know that their defensive coordinator had that type of faith in him. Brydges notes he proved their coaching staff right by picking up four tackles and an interception in the second half.
"I can't say enough about the group of men out here. From day one, we were a big dysfunctional family, and it was great to finally finish off what we all came out here to do. We all came here to win nationals, not just the league, and we got it done. I couldn't have asked for a better end of the year with a better group of guys."
Brydges isn't too sure what is on the horizon for him next season but he notes he's keeping his options open. If all else fails, the former PCI Trojan adds he will be more than happy to play out another season with Cold Lake in 2023.