You’ll excuse Sarnia’s Aden Alkinani if he’s looking past the holiday season to early February.
That’s when the 16-year-old will suit up for Team Ontario at the International Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The provincial football all-star squad will go up against an elite team of American players at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in a U17 encounter on Friday, Feb. 5.
The game is the last in a weeklong series of matches between Canadian and U.S. teams of different age groups.
The Americans won the U17 contest last year, 24-10.
Alkinani was chosen following a one-day tryout in Stoney Creek earlier this month, and is one of six defensive backs on the Team Ontario roster.
“I’m expecting a tough game,” said the 5’9,” 175 lb. athlete. “It’s going to physical and I think it’ll be faster than what we see here.”
But, he added, he won’t be intimidated by whoever lines up across from him on the field.
“I’ll just play my hardest, no matter who it is.”
The third-year player with the Vikings was one of only two Grade 11 students to suit up for the veteran Northern squad this season He sees himself as a complete defensive player who can play both the pass and the run, he said.
“I think one of my biggest strengths is my run support,” he said.
Despite having at least one more season of high school football to play, Alkinani has already had contact with the football programs of Wilfred Laurier University in Kitchener-Waterloo and Western University in London about possibly playing at the CIS level in future. There might also be interest from NCAA recruiters following his appearance with Team Ontario in Texas.
“If people give me options, I’m going to consider them all,” he said.
Alkinani and his Northern teammates just completed an 8-1 season and won the Lambton Kent title before bowing to Windsor-Herman in the SWOSSA final.
CanadaFootballChat.com rated the Vikings among the top 50 high school programs in the country in the final rankings of the season