North Shore football made a return to flying form last weekend as the Carson Graham Eagles won the annual Buchanan Bowl.
On Saturday (Sept. 17), the Eagles took a swooping 38-12 comeback victory over the Handsworth Royals.
The Royals scored first, but the Eagles focused in and were able to rebound to a commanding win.
A late-summer sun shone on the vibrant reds and blues of the crowd, which was returning for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The energy on the field was electric as fans rah-rahed their school’s athletes and cawed barbs at the other’s.
Colourful facepaint and beads were worn. Relish, ketchup, mustard and hot dogs were fixed on buns. High school football is back in season on the North Shore.
Having the fans back made it feel like a community event, says Eagles coach Brian Brady.
"It wasn’t just a football thing playing in front of empty fans," he said. "It makes it feel bigger, and it also helps drive that feeling that you are playing for something bigger than yourself."
Leading up to Saturday's game, the Eagles took two pre-season losses to Terry Fox and G.W. Graham, which is ranked one of Canada's top teams. Brady said the players were able to learn from lessons from those games and bring them to the bowl.
"We’re coming together as a team and players are taking leadership," he said.
The regular season kicks off for Carson Sept. 29 against WJ Mouat. For Handsworth, they play Mission Sept. 30.