Week 2: September 11-12
|For SportsTalk to the hand: LHHS #44 Damien Dutrisac holds his hand out toward Saint John #5 Brandon Preece as he trys to run past him.|
Greyhounds prove opportunistic
By Robert Touchie
Published In the Daily Gleaner on Monday September 14, 2009
Appeared on page B4
The Saint John High School Greyhounds showed the Leo Hayes High School Lions why they came into this New Brunswick High School Football League season with all the swagger of defending conference champions.
They dominated the battle on the line and used a powerful running and kicking game to bully the Lions in their own backyard by the score of 23-7 in front of 200 fans at Leo Hayes field Saturday afternoon.
It was the season opener for both teams.
Of Saint John's 23 points, 15 came directly from forced turnovers, while the powerful leg of the Greyhounds' Alex Quinn made a huge difference throughout the game in field position and on the scoresheet. Quinn had two kickoffs of 55 yards and averaged 43 yards a punt, unusual totals in the high school football fray.
"Alex Quinn is a guy who came to us from P.E.I. for his Grade 12 year and he has a goal to play at the next level and I hope to help him get there," said 'Hounds coach Dave Grandy. "We want all our kids to get a quality education, first and foremost, and if they desire to play football at the next level, we want to help them there, as well."
Quinn was good, but it was the battle on the line and resulting turnovers that ultimately determined the outcome of this game.
"I told our guys coming in that the battle is won in the trenches and that was the case today," said Grandy, a former St.FX football star. "Our defensive front got a lot of pressure on (Derek) Broad and we got a great push from our O-Line today. They were coming off the ball well. Today we won the battle in the trenches and that won us this game."
The Lions were never really able to get any rhythm going on offence during their 14 possessions. Lions' quarterback Derek Broad faced repeated pressure from the Greyhounds defensive front throughout the day, never having more than two or three seconds to make a play.
More importantly, the Lions had five costly offensive errors that extinguished any of their positive ball movement. There were two fumbles from the running backs and two high snaps to Broad from his centre. Added to that a safety that came with just 12 seconds left in the first half and the cumulative miscues added up to 15 Greyhound points.
To their credit the lions were not pointing fingers.
"We just had a hard time gelling today because we had some communication issues out there," said Broad, a Grade 11 student in his second year as starting quarterback. "The mental mistakes caused us to let the game get away from us but we've got some new players here and we're working together to get better and I think we'll be better for it (the loss) next week. Next week we'll be ready."
Broad completed four of 13 passes for just 12 yards, while his counterpart from Saint John, Dallas Ballard was 3 for 11 and 13 yards, to go along with two interceptions. The Lions interceptions were provided by Peter Reimer and Eric McGarry.
Reimer scored the lone Lions points with 1:27 left in the half as he faked a field goal attempt and successfully ran to the outside of Saint John's containment for 15 yards and a touchdown cutting the 'Hounds lead to 13-7.
Earlier in the half, Evan McAulay scored on a five-yard run for the Greyhounds and Quinn added a pair of field goals.
However, Saint John would score a momentum changing safety with 25 seconds to play in the half after the Lions unsuccessfully tried to run the clock out too close to their own goal line.
The bulk of the movement and rhythm on offence for both teams came on the ground with the Greyhounds Matt Doucet running for 173 yards on 14 carries. He added a 45-yard punt return late in the first half.
Tyler MacKenny added a touchdown run of 18 yards for the Greyhounds in the second half.
For the Lions, the hulking fullback Damien Dutrisac was a force all day, carrying the rock nine times for 115 yards, and adding 35 yards on special team's returns. In the end, however, his two turnovers would prove costly.
For the Lions and their coach Rick Kelly, it was a 'lesson learned' in playing smarter football with and without the ball and provided an impetus to go back to the drawing board with their offence.
"When we lose our focus and have mental breakdowns, bad things happen but I still saw a lot of positive things out there today," said Kelly, in his second season at the helm of a developing team.
"We have the ability to do great things with these players. The good thing is that these are problems that can be fixed, and we will work hard in practice to fix them.
"Saint John came to play and they executed. But we helped them a lot too. But I think we'll be OK. I think we'll be there at the end because I have a lot of faith in these kids. We have the athletes to win and I know we'll come back from this."
The Lions will host Oromocto High Blues on Saturday while Fredericton High School Black Kats will play host to the Greyhounds also on Saturday. Both games start at 1 p.m.
Olympiens, Matadors lose 10-man games
Published In the Times-Transcript on Monday September 14, 2009
Appeared on page B3
SAINT JOHN - The Simonds Seabees shaded the l'Odyssée Olympiens 18-17 in a New Brunswick High School Football League 10-man division game here Saturday.
The Mathieu-Martin Matadors lost 31-25 to the Harbour View Vikings in another game Friday in Saint John.
Justin Cormier ran for a pair of touchdowns and a two-point conversion for the Matadors while quarterback Xavier Couture connected with receiver Philippe Melanson for another touchdown.
In other 10-man division games, the Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders beat the Rothesay Red Hawks 27-6 and Sussex Sonics blanked the St. Stephen Spartans 10-0.
Olympiens host the Sonics on Friday at 7 p.m. at Rocky Stone Memorial Field and the Matadors entertain the Red Hawks on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Mathieu-Martin.
Meanwhile, two games are scheduled for the 12-man division on Friday at 4 p.m. Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders (1-0) visit the Riverview Royals (0-0-1) and the Harrison Trimble Trojans (0-1) square off against the Moncton High Purple Knights (1-0-1) at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.
|Simonds Seabees defensive back Nick Gillespie returns an interception 65 yards for a touchdown Saturday against Ecole L’Odyssee of Moncton at Simonds field. Gillespie’s return helped the Seabees capture an 18-17 win in their season opener.|
Simonds rides late TD to one-point win
Blues rout Saints in football opener
Published In the Daily Gleaner on Monday September 14, 2009
Appeared on page B1
Oromocto High Blues began their 2009 west conference high school football schedule on a winning note, shutting out St. Malachy's High Saints 31-0 at Shamrock Park in the port city. QB James Mitchell scored a touchdown on the Blues second possession, going in from the 20-yard line on a broken play, and it was all OHS after that. Nathan Heather scored a pair of touchdowns to pace the Blues, who led 28-0 at the half. Peter Wilde had a 50-yard run just before the half to increase the OHS margin to 28-0. Josh Blanchard had a 40-yard field goal to account for the only scoring of the second half. He converted all four Blues TDs. Fredericton High School Black Kats also won their season-opener, beating Hampton Huskies 28-12 in Hampton Saturday. Scoring details weren't provided. Oromocto plays at Leo Hayes and Saint John High plays at FHS in action this Saturday.
|Trimble Trojans quarterback John Toogood, right, breaks a tackle by MacNaughton Highlanders Nic Brooks during AAA high school football action yesterday at Rocky Stone Field.|
Highlanders top Trojans
|Rothesay Red Hawks Luke Grant is hit by Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders defender Adam Spurrell during the second annual Arthur Miller Bowl on Friday evening.|
Crusaders capture season opener
High School: KVHS jumps out to an early lead en route to second straight Arthur Miller Bowl title
By Jon MacNeill
Published In the Telegraph-Journal on Saturday September 12, 2009
Appeared on page C8
ROTHESAY - The Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders captured the second annual Arthur Miller Bowl after downing the Rothesay Red Hawks 27-6 in the season opener of the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association 10-man football South East league.
The upper Arthur Miller Field was painted a sea of red and blue Friday evening as nearly 350 supporters from each school cheered along the sidelines while the valley rivals went at it on the gridiron.
Running back Matthew Blain started the Crusaders off with a touchdown in the team's first series while Nathan Edwards kicked the extra point.
The Red Hawks were unsuccessful answering the lead-off score and allowed the Crusaders to set up on their doorstep to start off the second quarter. Quarterback Devon Toole punched the pigskin across the line in the opening play for a 13-0 edge early in the game.
"We got ahead of them off the draw, but we weren't taking this game lightly," Crusaders head coach Eugene Belliveau said. "(Rothesay) improved 100 per cent from last season "¦ they battled really well tonight."
The Red Hawks nearly found the end zone late in the second by working the ball to the Kennebecasis Valley 15-yard line off a 16-yard pass to Luke Grant and 12-yard run by Ben Hayward, but lost possession after a sack and fumble.
Blain weaved through mid-field during the Crusaders' next series for a 30-yard gain and first down on the Red Hawks' 30-yard line. The lanky runner improved his squad to 19-0 off a 20-yard touchdown run to end the half.
The next half started on an equally thrilling note, as Adam Spurrell dealt a crushing tackle to kick-off returner Luke Grant, eliciting a roar of cheers from blue-and-white faced supporters on the sidelines. Grant stayed down for about a minute before walking off the field unassisted.
Red Hawks head coach Bob Cote took advantage of the flexible 10-man game and switched up his defensive strategy for the second half to shut down the Crusaders' running game.
"Our defense had to make the most adjustments," Cote said. "We had to stop giving up the outside corners."
But the Kennebecasis Valley quarterback made some changes of his own and connected a 20-yard pass to receiver Spurrell, planted deep in the end zone. Edwards fumbled the ball while preparing to kick the extra point, but managed to run it in for two and a 27-0 advantage.
It would take Rothesay until the fourth quarter to answer, using a deep pass to Hayward to set up on the seven-yard line. After a couple unsuccessful sweeps at the end zone, Hayward punched it through the centre to get his squad on the board at 27-6.
Cote said despite the limited success of his offense in the season opener, the performance bodes well for the Red Hawks down the road.
"I think we're going to get better on the offensive side. A lot of important timing things got worked out today so I'm very happy with that," Cote said.
"We improved right from the opening whistle."
Belliveau said the massive turnout, with a crowd of approximately 700, was the ideal way to start off the league and usher in the football season.
"It's very encouraging," Belliveau said. "And then at the end, it's nice to bring everyone together and shake hands and realize that we're all living in the same community," he added.
"We all love a good battle, but we're all neighbours, too."
Meanwhile in the 10-man South East league, the Harbour View Vikings started off their season with a 31-25 win over Mathieu Martin High of Moncton Friday. Brett Saunders led the Vikings with four touchdowns, including an 80-yard dash for his first of the night before racking up 180-yards of rushing at Millidgeville Field. John Jean contributed with one touchdown while Curtis Hinsdale pitched in for a two-point conversion.
Justin Cormier had two touchdowns for Mathie Martin, from runs of 70 and 12 yards. J.F. Allard had one touchdown and a two-point convert while Pierre-Luc Michaud had a one-point kick in the losing effort.
|Lions’ offence taking shape: Quarterback Derek Broad (front) gets in throwing position under the warchful eye of head coach Rick Kelly, right, during a training camp session at Leo Hayes High Wednesday. At left are Damien Dustric and Peter Reimer. The Leo Hayes Lions begin their regular provincial high school football league season at home against the Saint John High Greyounds Saturday afternoon.|
Quality if not quantity
By Bruce Hallihan
Published In the Daily Gleaner on Thursday September 10, 2009
Appeared on page B1
Rick Kelly likes the look of the Leo Hayes High School Lions football team.
He just wishes he had more players to take a look at.
"We've got about 25 and I'd like to have 40," Kelly said as the New Brunswick High School Football League season opener fast approaches.
The Lions host the Saint John High Greyhounds at 1 p.m. Saturday at LHHS Field.
"This is the most athletic team I've ever coached, there's no doubt about that," Kelly said. "If we have a weakness it's that we don't have enough guys out yet."
So where are all the football players hiding?
"A lot of them are playing bantam football (with the JV Lions)," Kelly said. "We're trying to get those kids to play at the high school level, where they should be. Kids in Grade 10 who are 270 pounds should be playing at the level they're capable of playing, not playing in a three-team league."
Kelly is in his second season as head coach. Last season, the Lions won their first two games, finished 3-2, then lost their playoff opener, 10-7, to the Hampton High Huskies.
"It was a rebuilding year for us," Kelly said. "Any time you have a Grade 9 centre and a Grade 10 quarterback, I think you need to look at it for what it's worth. But you know what? For a rebuilding year, we were competitive in every game except for one."
Kelly says the young Lions have a solid foundation in place.
"We've got a great quarterback, great running backs, great receivers and a very mature defence," Kelly said, "so we're excited. I think things are looking pretty good for us."
Derek Broad, who started at QB in Grade 10, "has progressed light years," Kelly said. "He's so much more technically sound than he was last year. He throws a very accurate ball and he's got great instincts. He's just a natural athlete at the quarterback position."
Rookie receivers Peter Reimer and Eric McGarry, who put their feet to good use for the Canada Summer Games soccer team, will also be using their hands with the Lions.
"They're lightning fast and they catch everything that comes their way," Kelly said. "They just have a real knack for finding the open area."
Damien Dustric and Josh Campbell are returning running backs.
"We would never feel we had to focus on getting the ball to one specific guy," Kelly said, "because they're both incredibly fast and they've both got a lot of heart and determination.
"As far as getting those extra feet, they're both more than capable of that."
The offensive line is anchored by Paul Sibley, who "turned a lot of heads" at the combine held in Halifax in the spring.
"He was in Grade 10 and he was the fifth-strongest kid out of something like 300 athletes," Kelly said. "There were a lot of 'who is this kid?'"
Tony Kelly returns at centre while Connor Sturgeon is capable of playing fullback and O-line.
"We're kind of lucky to have a big guy like that up there," the coach said.
Kelly calls the defence "a crazy bunch of guys and a lot of fun to coach. They've got a lot of character."
The Lions will be counting on big seasons from defensive ends Brandon (Moose) Brooks and Brady Paul, linebackers Mike Benson, Nick Richardson and David Kennedy - "probably the strongest guy in the NBIAA," Kelly said - and defensive tackle Zack Lamey, "who's just a force in the middle. He's just a big, strong kid with a great nose for the ball."
To help with competitive balance, the high school football league has been divided into 12-man and 10-man divisions.
The Lions, who've been practising since mid-August, are part of the 12-man South West Conference along with the Greyhounds, Huskies, Oromocto High School Blues, Fredericton High School Black Kats and St. Malachy's Saints.
"I like that," Kelly said. "It kind of tells you where you stand early. You don't have to wait to see where you sit in the pecking order. You're going to face some stiff competition right away."
As soon as Saturday, in fact.
The Greyhounds were 8-0 last season, outscoring opponents 413-49, until losing 33-14 to the Bernice MacNaughton Highlanders in the provincial final.
"Year in, year out, Saint John High comes out of the locker room with, like, 60 guys and they're all trees and they all come to play," Kelly said.
"They're going to hit you and you have to be ready for that. It's going to be a very, very, very physical game."
"But I think the guys are ready," Kelly said. "They're excited to hit somebody other than themselves."
The Lions are home to OHS next Saturday, Sept. 19, before playing Hampton under the lights at UNB's Chapman Field on Friday, Sept. 25.
From there, the Lions travel to Saint John to play St. Mac's on Oct. 2, host FHS in North-South Bowl IX on Oct. 9, then complete the seven-game regular season by visiting OHS Oct. 17 and Saint John High Oct. 23.
"We've adopted the concept that we have to play better as a team and not so much as individuals," Kelly said. "We're going in with a game plan and a concept of how we're going to approach things. That way, it doesn't put pressure on one individual athlete.
"We all share the load."
The top four teams in the six-team conference advance to semifinals Oct. 30-31, with the Southwestern Conference final the following weekend.
The winner will face the Eastern Conference survivor for the Ed Skiffington Trophy Nov. 14 at Rocky Stone field in Moncton.
The three-time reigning champion Highlanders are in the five-team Eastern Conference with Moncton High and Riverview - those teams tied 21-21 on Friday - Harrison Trimble and Tantramar.
The 10-man division consists of eight teams.
They include Harbour View, Kennebecasis Valley, L'Odyssee, Mathieu-Martin, Rothesay, Simonds, St. Stephen and Sussex.
While the Lions are home, the Kats travel to Hampton for their season opener Saturday. The Blues make the trek to Saint John to play St. Malachy's on Friday night at Shamrock.
Head coach: Rick Kelly (2nd year)
Last year's record: 3-2, 4th place Western Division, lost 10-7 to Hampton in first playoff round.
2009 Season Schedule
Sat. Sept. 12: SJ High at Leo Hayes, 1 p.m. LHHS
Sat. Sept. 19: OHS at Leo Hayes, 1 p.m. LHHS
Fri. Sept. 25: Hampton vs. Leo Hayes, 7 p.m. Chapman
Fri. Oct. 2: Leo Hayes at St. Malachy's, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 9: North-South Bowl IX: FHS at Leo Hayes, 3:30 p.m. LHHS
Sat. Oct. 17: Leo Hayes at OHS, 1 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 23: Leo Hayes at SJ High, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30-31: SouthWestern Conference semifinals
Nov. 6-7: Southwesterm Conference final
Sat. Nov. 14: N.B. final, 4 p.m. Rocky Stone
Key players: QB Derek Broad, RB Damien Dustric, WR Peter Reimer, LB Michael Benson.