New Brunswick High School Football League
In the News

                                       Week 10: November 11

Inspired Highlanders win N.B. football title

Running back leaves hospital to help spark teammates


MacNaughton Highlanders celebrate their 10-7 win over the Fredericton High Black Kats in Saturday's New Brunswick High School Football League final at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

Just four days before the MacNaughton Highlanders were to play for a New Brunswick championship, the outlook didn't look great.

They were underdogs to the defending champion and unbeaten Fredericton High Black Kats long before a serious car accident injured four of their top players on Tuesday.

But in one of the most exciting New Brunswick High School Football League championship games in recent years, the Highlanders rode a wave of emotions and captured the provincial 12-man division title with a 10-7 win over Fredericton High in front of about 2,000 spectators Saturday night at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

MacNaughton slotback/cornerback Dylan Hollohan and defensive back Morgan Dickie both recovered from their injuries in the accident to get into the lineup and each made big plays. All-star quarterback Eric Daigle, who took nearly every snap all season long for the Highlanders before breaking his throwing hand in the accident, wanted to help out his team and played on special teams and at fullback. And running back K.J. MacNeil, the most seriously injured of the four players, got out of the hospital in time Saturday to watch the game and spoke to his team briefly at halftime before MacNaughton went out and pulled off the upset.

With the game tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter, the Highlanders, with MacNeil's No. 28 on each of their helmets, marched down field and Nathan Cormier - a workhorse at running back all night for MacNaughton - kicked a 15-yard field goal with 4:07 remaining to lift the Highlanders to their second Ed Skiffington Trophy. They also beat Fredericton High for the 2004 title.

"It was a rough week, but on a positive note those four guys were on our mind. K.J. told us at halftime to 'pull through boys, pull through' and that really boosted our morale and the guys pulled through," said Cormier, a Grade 12 running back who also handled kicking duties for MacNaughton.

"When we were marching down the field for that field goal, it was a combination of the guys seeing K.J. and also putting Eric in at fullback that really led us down the field," added Highlanders head coach Ed Wasson. "It brought just a little extra motivation to get the job done."

The game was a defensive battle between the top two teams in the province with few offensive big plays.

MacNaughton had one late in the first quarter when Cormier broke loose from the Highlanders' own end for a 95-yard run. That set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Grade 10 rookie quarterback Scott Kelly, playing in place of Daigle in his first ever high school league quarterback start, to Nick Kaminsky just inside the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

Black Kats made the most of one of their few trips to the red zone late in the second quarter. After repeated shots at the end zone, star quarterback Andrew Hickey found Elliot Thompson on a six-yard touchdown strike and the game was tied 7-7.

Fredericton High came into the game with the league's best offence led by Hickey, the Western Conference player of the year, but it was MacNaughton's defence which rose to the challenge Saturday.

Hickey, a strong scrambler, was able to roll out and find receivers with short passes, but never did come up with the big play the Black Kats needed. Series after series the Highlanders defence kept him in check. Ed McNally. Justin Cook. Bryce Wade. Justin Merrithew. Ben Lass. They all made big plays.

"Our defence played the game of our lives. We knew it was going to be a defensive game and we knew Fredericton would be tough, but our coaches prepared us for this game like something I've never seen before," said McNally, a Grade 11 linebacker who was named defensive player of the game.

"I've never felt like this ever before. I've won provincial championships in hockey twice and this is way better."

Cormier was named the Highlanders' offensive player of the game, but he had help on this day. Kelly, the Grade 10 rookie, played with the composure of a veteran and gave his team a chance to win.

"Scott Kelly had a few reps at the start of the year and wasn't sure how he'd do, but the coaches helped him out," Cormier said.

"His first game was for a provincial title and he pulled through. That's something else."

Fredericton High had its chance for a comeback in the final minutes. Hickey marched his team down field to set up a 40-yard field goal attempt by Zac Cann with 44 seconds left to play. It was just short.

"I'm just in shock right now. We didn't play our best game today and MacNaughton played really well," Hickey said.

"Their defence was just amazing. We hadn't faced anyone like them this year. They saw what we had and adjusted well throughout the game and did what they had to do to win."

Meanwhile, the Harbour View Vikings beat the St. Stephen High Spartans 28-21 in the 10-man division final.


Vikings get the job done

Harbour View uses balanced attack to capture 10-man division crown

SAINT JOHN - Harbour View Vikings coach Mike Murphy says when his players lined up with championship medals dangling from their necks he felt tears surfacing at the corner of his eyes.

"Just looking at those kids, I was so happy for them," said Murphy. "They were smiling, cheering and yelling, they could hardly contain themselves and that's when I almost teared up... All I needed was to watch the expressions on their faces and enjoy the moment. They really worked hard."

With a glimmer of determination in their eyes the Vikings took down the St. Stephen Spartans 28-21 for the New Brunswick High School Football League's 10-man championship Saturday in Moncton.

Last week in an interview, Murphy said if his team played as good defensively as the Spartans they would win the game hands down. And that, he said, is exactly what happened.

"We just took away their big plays, we took away their passing game, and even though they have a strong running game with Joel Wilcox, that hurt us, but we never let them have a big run," said Murphy. "It was the best I ever saw our defence work."

But defence was not the only thing the coach said was bang on.

"St. Stephen's defence could not focus on any one player and that was really the key," said Murphy. "We just had so many options with John McNabb as fullback, Mike Curwin and Jeremy Monaghan at tailback, plus Jordan Blizzard as quarterback that really just gave us four good runningbacks and made us hard to defend because when they brought the pressure on the outside we could just sent someone up the middle, and they had the speed to do it."

Blizzard faked it to the middle and ran it outside for five yards to score the first touchdown of the game. Monaghan kicked for the one point conversion making the score 7-0 after the first quarter.

The Vikings took the lead in the first quarter and kept it throughout the game. In the second quarter McNabb scored on a five-yard run up the middle and Monaghan kicked the conversion.

"McNabb carried three guys into the endzone with him," Murphy said, laughing.

But before the halftime whistle blew, the Spartans made a comeback as Daniel Marshall scored on a seven-yard sweep around the right. Quarterback Matt Sode kicked the conversion to make it 14-7 at the half.

In the third, Monaghan scored on a counter play for 12 yards and kicked his own conversion.

"We called him (Monahan) the thunder from down under because he was from Australia," said Murphy. "He is the toughest kid I've ever coached."

With a 21-7 lead, the game wasn't over yet. Player of the year and Spartans running back Joel Wilcox took control of the game and scored a touchdown around the left side for five yards, and had his conversion blocked.

With a 21-13 lead into the fourth, Monaghan made another strong move, scoring on a 12-yard sweep and converting the play to make it 28-13.

Murphy never likes to play the game like he's winning, but said early in the fourth, he could taste the victory.

With 18 seconds left on the clock Wilcox scored again and ran in his conversion for two points. The score stood at 28-21 but the Vikings got posession of the ball and ran out the clock for the win.

"I think my heart bounced more than that football in the end," said Murphy, adding it was the longest 18 seconds of his life.

"Then there was a pandemonium, they were jumping together out in the field and I was afraid someone was going to get hurt because they just went nuts, jumping, screaming, hugging, thousands and thousands of hugs."


Sports Digest

Hickey, Haley earn major football awards

Quarterback Andrew Hickey of Fredericton High School Black Kats and Will Haley of Oromocto High Blues were among the major award winners in the New Brunswick High School Football League this season.

Hickey was named player of the year in the western conference of the league while Haley was presented with the Bill Glendenning Award for academics and sportsmanship.

Among the west conference all-stars were Kats Hickey, OL Ben Thompson, WR David Carr and Elliott Thompson, DL Fraser Boldon and LB Dan Reid. Named from OHS were OL Brett Dingley, WR Zach Smith and Chris Hillier, DL Will Martin and LB Matt Harmon. Selected from Leo Hayes High Lions were RB Mitchel Cormier and LB Jake Thomas.


Spotlight shines on backup

Rookie quarterback gets the call for Highlanders in today's title game


MacNaughton Highlanders quarterback Scott Kelly winds up for a pass during practice ealier this week. Highlanders host the Fredericton High Black Kats in today's provincial final at 4:30 p.m. at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

Scott Kelly didn't expect to get much sleep last night.

On the eve of his first ever New Brunswick High School Football League quarterback start in the biggest game of his career, the Grade 10 rookie had a lot on his mind.

Kelly's MacNaughton Highlanders play the defending champion Fredericton High Black Kats in the 12-man division provincial final for the Ed Skiffington Trophy today at 4:30 p.m. at Moncton's Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

Highlanders are playing in the New Brunswick championship game for the third time in their five-year 12-man division history.

The 10-man division Nick Desilets Memorial Trophy Game will feature the Harbour View Vikings of Saint John and St. Stephen High Spartans at 1 p.m., also at Rocky Stone.

MacNaughton head coach Ed Wasson said yesterday Kelly will start at quarterback in place of all-star Grade 12 starter Eric Daigle, one of four Highlander players injured in a car accident earlier this week.

Initially, the team said all four players would miss today's game, but Wasson said yesterday slotback/cornerback Dylan Hollohan and defensive back Morgan Dickie have both recovered and will be in the lineup. Daigle, who broke his throwing hand in the accident, will dress and may see time on special teams and fullback.

Running back K.J. MacNeil, the most seriously injured of the four players, remains in The Moncton Hospital in stable condition with head injuries.

Kelly, who played mostly slotback for MacNaughton this season, isn't a novice. He quarterbacked the Moncton Highlanders to the New Brunswick bantam championship a year ago.

"I'm feeling some pressure now. It was a big thing when Eric went down, but I want to step up for him," Kelly, 15, said before the team's final practice yesterday.

"Eric's a big part of the offence and it's some big shoes to fill, but I'll do my best. I'll just do what the coaches tell me to do and do the best I can."

Both the coaching staff and his teammates have confidence in their backup quarterback.

"He'd be the guy I would choose from this whole team out of everybody. At the start of the year he got me a little frightened and I thought he might even take my spot, but he should do well for us," Daigle said.

"Scott's a good athlete and good athletes make good plays out there and that's what we expect him to do for us," Wasson added.

MacNaughton and Fredericton High have yet to meet this season, but know each other well. Highlanders beat the Black Kats 13-9 for their first ever New Brunswick championship in 2004, but Fredericton High came back and eliminated MacNaughon in a semifinal last year en route to claiming the provincial title over the Oromocto High Blues.

Black Kats finished first in the Western Conference regular season with a 7-0 record. Highlanders were first in the Eastern Conference at 5-1-1.

Fredericton High is led by star quarterback and Western Conference player of the year Andrew Hickey and a stingy defence which hasn't given up a point in its last three games. Black Kats are 9-0 so far this season and have outscored opponents 311-40. Highlanders have gone 7-1-1 and outscored opponents 273-40.

"I think they're going to be tough and a hard team to beat, but I think we have a good chance," said Grade 12 linebacker Dan Barristo, the lone remaining member of MacNaughton's 2004 championship team.

"More than anything, winning a championship takes a lot of heart and we've showed a lot of heart this year and really want to win. Now, it all comes down to this."

Highlanders will be thinking of their fallen teammate when they hit the field today. The team visited MacNeil in hospital yesterday and presented him with a signed team football and is hoping he is able to attend today's game.

"K.J. is going to be in the back of my mind every time I get in there and I'm just going to play my heart out because it's the last game of the season and possibly the last game of my career," Daigle said.

"We'll be thinking of what happened this week and hopefully we can turn bad things into good."


Hickey named best in West

Andrew Hickey has already won one major football award this season. He'd like to make it two.

The Grade 12 quarterback leads the Fredericton High School Black Kats into the New Brunswick High School Football League championship game against the Bernice McNaughton Highlanders today at 4:30 p.m. already wearing the title as the Most Valuable Player in the Western Conference.

Hickey was one of seven Black Kats named to the Western Conference all-star team, along with offensive lineman Ben Thompson, receivers David Carr and Elliot Thompson, linebacker Dan Reid, defensive lineman Fraser Boldon and defensive back David Kingston.

Two players from the Leo Hayes St. Mary's Lions made the dream team, including running back Mitchel Cormier and linebcker Jake Thomas, while the Oromocto Art World Blues placed four players, including offensive lineman Brett Dingley, receivers Zach Smith and Chris Hillier, and defensive lineman Will Martin.

The Black Kats, who finished atop the Western Conference with a 7-0 record, will be seeking their second straight championship when they hit the turf at Rocky Stone Field in Moncton today.


Football's brothers in arms

The St. Stephen Spartans hook up with Harbour View Vikings in Saturday's 10-man division final


St. Stephen quarterback Matt Sode is one of the key figures for the Spartans in Saturday's provincial final against Harbour View.

SAINT JOHN - They have grown up together, learned about life and football side by side and when the St. Stephen Spartans step on any field, they fight as a family. And they usually win.

"Everybody on the field is like a brother to me," said running back and provincial player of the year, Joel Wilcox. "Everybody on the team is willing to give a 110 per cent every play because they want it and they want it for the person next to them and they are willing to put their body on the line."

With a 7-1 record, the Spartans are having the best season in their history and when they face the Harbour View Vikings Saturday for the New Brunswick High School Football League's 10-man division championship, they plan to keep up their streak.

"As far as I'm concerned, we are the best team in the league and the world as far as connection," said Wilcox. "The fact that this is going to be my last game with all of these players is going to make me want it that much more."

The Spartans beat JMA Armstrong in the semifinal 48-0. When the game was over, coach of the year Tom Hart felt relieved. He said he went in expecting to win and expects to win on Saturday.

On Sept. 30, they lost to the Vikings 34-27.

"They (Vikings) played well in the fourth quarter and they didn't give up, they just went in and took it," said Hart. "We weren't being aggressive enough, we were sitting back too much and letting them come to us."

But Hart said his team learned from the loss and worked on attacking blockers up field before they pick up speed.

Their hard work paid off, and on Oct. 28 they beat the Vikings 35-12.

Hart said his team is good at many things but team unity is his squad's main strength.

"We've had most of these guys since Grade 9 and 10, and every year they are getting better and better and working harder," said Hart. "We execute very well offensively, and defensively everyone has a job to do and they do them. We are disciplined. Our team motto is every play, every day. We go 100 per cent every day whether in a practice or a game."

With only 22 players on the team, most players have to play offensive and defensive positions, and some play the whole game on both sides of the ball.

The key to their wins is their peak physical condition. Hart said he works them hard in the weight room and his players practise hard, even in the off season.

All-star quarterback Matt Sode said they just wear their rivals down until they win.

Sode averages 100 passings yards a game and has rushed four touchdowns and thrown for seven.

"We don't just have one player who comes through every play, we are well rounded and we can put players in different positions and they'll know their jobs," said Sode. "We don't have to worry, we are well prepared."

When it comes to naming his team's best, Hart said he could nominate half his team. But the name on the tip of his tongue was Wilcox.

"He's strong for us running the ball offensively and making tackles for defense."

As a running back, Wilcox averaged about 110 yards a game and scored 11 touchdowns. He is also the team's leading tackler, averaging about 10 a game.

"If you score a 30-yard touchdown, you know it is because your teammates are making the right blocks," said Wilcox. "It's such a great feeling knowing everyone is working to get that victory. They (team) are always saying 'good play, good play,' but I'm always saying 'I couldn't do it with out you.' It's a team sport not a one man game."

There is no doubt the team has the best defense in the league.

With 64 tackles and nine sacks, defensive all-star Brad Copping was also one of Hart's picks.

"He's a big help to us, he's really just shut down some teams," said Hart. "A lot of teams have a hard time handling him. It takes two or three blockers and sometimes that's not enough."

St. Stephen made it to the final last year and lost to Kennebecasis Valley. This year, they are more prepared and more talented.

"We want it this year because we didn't lose a lot of players from last year, but everybody on the team can remember how it felt to be in the final game and how it felt to lose and they know how much everybody wants it," said Wilcox.


Trojans capture top high school awards

SAINT JOHN - The Harrison Trimble Trojans didn't finish atop the New Brunswick High School Football League's Eastern Conference standings. But they did capture two major awards. Nicholas Kukkonen was named player of the year while the Trojans' coaches received recognition as the coaching staff of the year.

In the Western Conference, Fredericton quarterback Andrew Hickey was named most valuable player, while the Saint John Greyhounds' sideline staff was named coaching staff of the year.

Following is a list of all the awards.

Eastern Conference

Offensive lineman of the year - Shawn Moores, MacNaughton; Defensive lineman of the year - Preston Spence, Tantramar; Offensive player of the year - Stephen Bohan, Tantramar; Defensive player of the year - Mike Miller, Riverview. Eastern Conference all-stars: Offensive linemen - Shawn Moores, MacNaughton; Brendan Wallace, MacNaughton; Dylan Tower, Tantramar; Jordan Dole, Riverview; Tyler Gillcash, Harrison Trimble. Quarterback - Eric Daigle, Harrison Trimble. Running backs - David Arsenault, Harrison Trimble; Dan Fawcett, Riverview; Pierre Mouawad, L'Odyssee. Receivers - Nick Kamensky, MacNaughton; Stephen Bohan, Tantramar; Kevin Monaghan, Moncton; Calum Hardie, Tantramar; PK - Scott LeBlanc, L'Odyssee; Punter - Andrew Lewis, Riverview. Defensive Linemen - Justin Merrithew, MacNaughton; Preston Spence, Tantramar; Mark Franklin, Harrison Trimble; Shawn Wallace, Moncton; Corey Gillcash, Harrison Trimble; Linebackers - Ben Kinden, Harrison Trimble; Scott MacDougall, Tantramar; Justin Cook, MacNaughton; Mike MacLeod, Riverview; Tom Budd, Riverview. Defensive Backs - Nicholas Kukkonen, Harrison Trimble; Devon Joyce, Tantramar; Bryce Wade, MacNaughton; Mike Miller, Riverview; Punt returner - Greg Diamond, Riverview.

Western Conference

Most valuable offensive players - Kevin Morrell, Hampton; Joel Seale, Saint John. Most valuable defensive player - Aaron Gordon, Saint John; Offensive lineman of the year - Chris Zeuchner, Saint John; Defensive lineman of the year - Matt Lamont, Hampton. Western Conference all-stars: Offensive Linemen - Jared Goguen, Kennebecasis Valley; Chris Zeuchner, Saint John; Mike Hickey, Hampton; Ben Thompson, Fredericton; Ben Thompson, Fredericton; Brett Dingley, Oromocto. Quarterback - Andrew Hickey, Fredericton; Running backs - Kevin Morrell, Hampton; Mitchell Cormier, Leo Hayes; Eric Saulnier, Saint John. Receivers - David Carr, Fredericton; Elliot Thompson, Fredericton; Zach Smith, Oromocto; Chris Hillier, Oromocto; Joel Seale, Saint John. Kicker - Chris Chesworth, Saint John. Defensive Line - Fraser Boldon, Fredericton; Will Martin, Oromocto; Matt Lamont, Hampton; Mike Adams, Hampton. Linebackers - Mike Flynn, Kennebecasis; Jake Thomas, Leo Hayes; John Livingston, Saint John; Matt Harmon, Oromocto; John O'Brien, Hampton; Dan Reid, Fredericton. Defensive backs - Dave Kingston, Fredericton; Aaron Gordon, Saint John; Chris Ogden, Saint John.



Trojans' Nick Kukkonen named player of the year

Harrison Trimble QB/defensive back also selected to 12-man division all-star team; he'd trade awards for chance to play in Saturday's championship game


MacNaughton Highlanders defensive co-ordinator Steve Laird instructs the defensive line during a practice at the Dundee SportsDome yesterday. The Highlanders face Fredericton High Black Kats for the provincial high school football crown on Saturday afternoon.

Nicholas Kukkonen finished his New Brunswick High School Football League career with a player of the year award under one arm and an all-star selection under the other.

But he'd trade it all in for a chance to play in Saturday's 12-man division provincial final at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.

"In a minute," said the Harrison Trimble Trojans Grade 12 quarterback/defensive back who was named the 12-man division Eastern Conference player of the year as well as an all-star defensive back at the league's award banquet last night.

"That's what everyone works hard for all year and no matter how much hardware you win, it's definitely a lot better to be playing for a championship."

Saturday's New Brunswick 12-man division final will feature the MacNaughton Highlanders taking on the defending champion Fredericton High Black Kats at 4:30 p.m. for the Ed Skiffington Trophy. Harbour View Vikings of Saint John and St. Stephen High Spartans will meet in the 10-man division Nick Desilets Memorial Trophy Game at 1 p.m., also at Rocky Stone.

Fredericton High star quarterback Andrew Hickey was selected the Western Conference player of the year and all-star quarterback.

"It's disappointing not to get to the final, but the best of luck to those two teams. It should be a great battle between two very good teams and will be very entertaining to watch," said Kukkonen, whose Trojans lost to MacNaughton in a provincial quarter-final.

"Both teams have a lot of power on offence. Andrew Hickey is a great player, just a phenomenal athlete and we played against MacNaughton all year and they've definitely got some weapons of their own to throw at Fredericton."

Other Eastern Conference double winners were Mike Miller of the Riverview High Royals, Shawn Moores of the MacNaughton Highlanders and Stephen Bohan and Preston Spence, both of the Tantramar Titans.

Miller won the defensive player of the year award and was also named an all-star defensive back while Moores took home offensive lineman of the year honours and an all-star selection.

Bohan picked up the offensive player of the year award and was named an all-star receiver and Spence claimed the defensive lineman of the year award and was also selected an all-star.

Richard Phillips of Riverview High won the Bill Glendinning Award for sportsmanship and academics while a league service award went to Randy and Anne Geddes of Sackville.

Harrison Trimble, led by head coach Perry Kukkonen, captured the coaching staff of the year award.

Other Eastern Conference offensive all-stars included quarterback Eric Daigle of MacNaughton, running backs David Arsenault of Harrison Trimble, Dan Fawcett of Riverview High and Pierre Mouawad of the L'Odyssée Olympiens, receivers Nick Kaminsky of MacNaughton, Callum Hardie of Tantramar and Kevin Monaghan of the Moncton High Purple Knights, offensive linemen Brendan Wallace of MacNaughton, Tyler Gillcash of Harrison Trimble, Adam Saule of Riverview High and Dylan Tower of Tantramar, kicker Scott LeBlanc of L'Odyssée and punter Andrew Lewis of Riverview High.

The Eastern Conference defensive all-star team is rounded out by defensive linemen Mark Franklin and Corey Gillcash of Harrison Trimble, Justin Merrithew of MacNaughton and Shawn Wallace of Moncton High, linebackers Tom Budd and Mike MacLeod of Riverview High, Justin Cook of MacNaughton, Scott MacDougall of Tantramar and Ben Kinden of Harrison Trimble, defensive backs Bryce Wade of MacNaughton and Devon Joyce of Tantramar and punt returner Greg Diamond of Riverview High.

Meanwhile, the J.M.A. Armstrong Cougars of Salisbury had three players selected 10-man division all-stars. They were running back Justin Scott, defensive lineman Tyler Amos and linebacker Justin MacPherson.

Sports Journal

Spartans, Vikings lead awards list

It figures that the top 10-man football teams in the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association would lead the league's annual all-star parade.

And that's just what happened as the St. Stephen Spartans placed eight players on the 10-man division all-star squads and the Harbour View Vikings and Simonds Seabees placed six players each during the loops annual banquet Tuesday night.

Further, the league's player of the year went to Joel Wilcox of St. Stephen and the defensive player of the year was his teammate Brad Copping while Harbour View took two of the top individual awards (offensive player of the year Jordan Blizzard and top offensive lineman Josh Fergus).

The St. Stephen coaching staff, led by head coach Tom Hart, earned the nod as coaching staff of the year of the year.

St. Stephen and Harbour View will tangle Saturday at Rocky Stone field in Moncton at 1 p.m. for the provincial crown. The 12-man division final takes place at 4:30 p.m. Saturday between Fredericton and MacNaughton.

It is also slated for Rocky Stone Field.

Following are the individual and all-star awards:

Player of the year - Joel Wilcox, St. Stephen

Offensive player of the year - Jordan Blizzard, Harbour View

Defensive player of the year - Brad Copping, St. Stephen

Offensive lineman of the year - Josh Fergus, Harbour View

Defensive lineman of the year - Alex LeBlanc, Simonds

Coaches of the year - St. Stephen

League services awards - Harold and Ann LeBlanc, Rick Doiron

Offensive All-Stars

Quarterback - Matt Sode, St. Stephen; Jordan Blizzard, HVHS

Lineman - Josh Murphy, St. Stephen; Josh Fergus, HVHS; Raymond Cormier, St. Stephen.

Running backs - Justin Scott, JMA; Joel Wilcox, St. Stephen; Stefan Wood, Simonds; Jared Hamm, Simonds; Mike Cote, Rothesay.

Receivers - Kyle McCormick, St. Stephen; Marshall Vail, Simonds; John Phillips, HVHS

Punter or place kicker - Jeremy Monahan, HVHS.

Defensive All-Stars

Lineman - Alex Leblanc, Simonds; Tyler Amos, JMA; Brad Copping, St. Stephen, Craig Miller, HVHS

Linebackers - Justin MacPherson, JMA; Mike McSorley, St. Stephen; Aaron Wilson, HVHS, John Oliver, Simonds; Jared Dewar, Rothesay.

Defensive backs - Steve Richard, St. Malachys; Andy Mawhinney, Simonds; Luke Dinsmore, St. Stephen.


UNB to partner with city on new 'turf' field

A weekend of soccer play at University of New Brunswick's Chapman Field was a good reminder of why the university decided a year ago to embark on a redevelopment plan to install artificial turf at the facility.

Cold, damp weather and tough competition in the six-team Atlantic University Sport men's Soccer Championship, won by host UNB Varsity Reds, left the grass field a chewed up mess.

UNB athletic director Kevin Dickie says a year ago in September when he left coaching in Saskatchewan to join the university as athletic director, he was handed a thick file that backgrounded the possibility of the university installing the city's first artificial turf field.

But the file had languished and needed work, so he started over, Dickie said Tuesday.

During the past year, the university has been crunching the numbers, working on potential partnerships and creating a concept plan for the future.

"In order to have a project that is as significant as this, you've got to have the finances in place," Dickie said. "We're 80 per cent there."

The plan received a major boost recently, when city council quietly voted behind closed doors, to purchase 3,000 hours of play on the two new proposed soccer fields. The decision has to be ratified during the 2007 budget vote, but it was approved unanimously.

Dickie said he's had an outstanding working relationship with the city's community services director Wayne Tallon who has been working to fast-track the plan. The potential partnership with the city is an exciting one, Dickie said.

The concept plan is to install two artificial turfed fields and - depending on cash flow - create some form of an indoor environment for sports play. Ancillary buildings are contemplated as part of the total package, other sources have indicated.

"Whatever our ultimate vision is, we need the finances and the partnerships to be forged," Dickie said. "The project won't happen without that final piece of the puzzle being confirmed."

While soccer is the main potential user of the artificial turf, Dickie sees room for traditional sports such as rugby and football and nouveau energy-burners such as ultimate frisbee players to share time on the fields.

Dickie's waiting on word from a couple of sport user groups before putting a final package together for senior university officials.

"The university knows what the business plan requires from our (own) investment and from partners," Dickie said. "We're trying to get it on the rails by next summer. That's the goal, for sure."

Community services committee chairman Coun. Bruce Grandy said the city's proposal to purchase field time isn't just going to help UNB. It would allow the city a change to take some of its fields out of play and repair them, Grandy said.

Fredericton hired Amulet consultants Ltd. for a professional review of its sports fields and few of the fields got passing grades when the soccer capacity analysis was presented to council this past July. The capital city lacks artificial turf which soccer and minor football associations have long argued would extend play and allow the city to market itself for more competitive and championship play.

Grandy said city council is welcoming the community partnership with UNB because it's for the betterment of all parties. "They're providing infrastructure and we're going to agree to pay for use. We wouldn't own it or tell them how to run it," Grandy said.

Amulet's report to the city estimated the capital cost of developing an artificial field at $1.8 million. While development costs are high, Amulet's report said artificial turf has a 20-year plus lifespan and offers the possibility of year-round play depending upon cold weather. Unlike soil, sand or filled turf fields, the annual maintenance costs are about $2,000 instead of $25,000 to $30,000 annually for natural field surfaces.


Hickey name synonymous with football excellence at FHS

With all due respect to the Bardsley, Johnson and Edwards families, the winner of the high school version of Family Feud goes to the Hickey family.

To be fair, all four families have made significant contributions to the rich tradition of winning football at Fredericton High School almost from the day it was first brought into the school back in 1985. Each have contributed four sons to the venture over a stretch that has seen the team win 12 provincial titles with sights set on lucky 13 this weekend.

Head coach Larry Wisniewski doesn't want any part of labelling one as the "First Family" of FHS football. But as the Kats vie for their second straight provincial title Saturday in Moncton against the Highlanders of Bernice MacNaughton, he knows he's got a quarterback who gives his team a pretty good chance winning.

The kid's name is Andrew Hickey, the transplanted slot back-defensive back extraordinaire of two seasons ago who saved his best game in his rookie year for last, that being a 100-plus yard effort against MacNaughton in what proved to be a losing effort in 2004.

He took over as the regular quarterback in Grade 11 and the Kats have been on the prowl ever since, beating Oromocto High Blues 26-9 in last year's final and marching into Moncton this week with nary a blemish in nine starts so far.

To hear his own teammate David Carr tell it, Hickey was the straw that stirred the drink in last week's 30-0 romp over Tantramar High Titans in the semifinal game. Hickey threw for 203 yards, rushed for another 53 and scored a touchdown, prompting Carr to say: "He's aweswome. He can find you anywhere on the field. He gives us so much never give up with him because if you can get open, he'll get it to you."

When Wisniewski first joined Donny Davis and the Kats' coaching staff back in 1988, he had a young WR who could catch a pass in a phone booth and make big yardage. Wiz was in charge of the receivers and probably wasn't too thrilled when Davis needed this particular WR to take over at quarterback the following season.

The kid's name was Sean Hickey.

Like now, the Kats were defending champions back then, too, after having lost two years previous to a Titans team that had the likes of Monty Maurice who was all-Conference in just about every thing he did. Well, Hickey and Co. earned their way to the title game which happened to be played in the East, like this year. The Sackville-based Titans might have been the home team, but it was Hickey and Co. walking off with the spoils on that day, to the tune of 43-19. Who knows? His kid brother might have been among the throng congratulating the black and gold in the post-mortem.

Sean Hickey, of course, went on to spend his university career in Sackville with Mount Allison Mounties, and in 1991, it was he along with his former FHS teammates (punter) Ron Squires and WR Matt Khoury who played leading roles as Mount A actually advanced all the way to the Vanier Cup in Toronto. Despite Mount A losing the national final, Hickey was named offensive player of the game.

In between now and then, there's been a wide receiver named Alex Hickey and later a marquee running back who would spend five memorable years at St. Francis Xavier University named David Hickey making their presence felt wearing Black Kat colours. All had particular strengths, remembers Wiz, and he need only gaze out at the practice field to be reminded of what they were. That's because he calls the current-day standard-bearer for the family the "composite" of his brothers.

Like Sean, Andrew can run out of trouble and throw the ball almost where he wants. Wiz says he might not be as accurate throwing the ball and doesn't see the field quite like Sean and might not have his natural instinct for playing the position, but when it comes to toughness and taking a hit and keeping on truckin', Andrew is without peer. Wiz says nobody could cut and work his way through traffic like David Hickey. But Andrew has his inside strength, the strong legs, and the will to carry on, says Wiz.

"He's got a little bit of everything that his brothers had, plus he's extremely physical out there. He's as tough as nails. He just doesn't give up. And that makes him the kind of guy his teammates tend to rally around," says the Wiz.

To add impetus to his point, Wiz talks about a special teams' drill one day at practice. Says Hickey decided to get out there and do a little blocking. Apparently he came upon one of the defensive lineman, one of the team's premier players in Ben Thompson who goes about 260 pounds, and knocked him flat on his back. Not once. Not twice. But three times, says the Wiz, "until I told him to get out of there." He says Thompson gained a new appreciation for his quarterback.

"I think what makes him such a good player is his versatility. He can do so many things. And that's what I think he got from his siblings. He wanted to be able to do what they could do, and I think he's learned something from each of them."

And like his brothers before him, expect to see Andrew playing at the university level in the not too distant future, says Wiz. He says he might not have the height to play quarterback - Andrew is about 6' and 190 pounds - but he's got the toughness and instincts to be a "dynamite" free safety, says Wiz. "He could also play linebacker. Because he's so physical, he'll be a presence out there."

There's already been considerable interest from recruiters, most notably McMaster of Hamilton and Bishop's of Lennoxville, Que. Wiz says don't be surprised if Hickey winds up at one of those schools. He says Acadia and possibly Mount A remain options as well.

David Ritchie can be contacted at or by calling 458-6484. His weekly column appears Wednesdays.