Axemen hoping to make mark in foothills
Football: Acadia grad making connection with local coaches
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 06:00 am
A former football coach in the foothills is hoping to give some local high school players the axe.
No, former Oilfields Drillers coach Mike Kingston isn’t planning to cut any players, he is working with Acadia University Axemen head football coach Jeff Cummins in possibly recruiting players to the college in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Kingston and Cummins visited with Foothills Falcons coach Greg McLeod and Highwood Mustang coach Nathan St. Dennis on Jan. 23 about potential players for the highly ranked Axemen.
Cummins, the 2011 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Coach of the Year, was out west for a recruiting trip and he wanted to make a stop in Okotoks.
“I come out west once a year and this is the first time I have been to Foothills,” Cummins said. “I am aware of the amount of football that gets played in Okotoks and the level of play, but let’s face it, I can’t afford to come out here often.”
Acadia is a school which should be on any Canadian high school football players’ radar.
Acadia has enjoyed a great deal of success recently. They have played in the national semifinal the past two years only to lose to the eventual Vanier Cup champions, the McMaster Marauders and the Laval Rouge et Or, respectively.
The Axemen’s headman is aware of players such as Falcons quarterback Taylor Armsworthy and Holy Trinity Academy Knights running back Ryder Stone as well as safety Jordan Rae through their play with Team Alberta at the Canada Cup. He sees his visit to the foothills as an investment in the future, adding many players have already decided their football future by their Grade 12 years. This was an aim to possibly make contact with Grade 10 and 11 players.
He’s hoping Kingston will help bridge the 4,781 km gap between Okotoks and Wolfville in regards to recruiting players.
“Mike puts a local face with our university,” Cummins said. “He is someone who can relay the experience of going to Acadia. It is always nice to have someone like Mike who can put on the Acadia jacket and talk about the experience.”
Kingston, a former defensive back with the Axemen in the late 1980s, is the former head coach of the Oilfields Drillers and was an assistant coach with the Foothills Falcons and the Cochrane Cobras.
“I have a passion and a love for Acadia,” Kingston said. “And if a local high school kid is thinking of playing university football, I would be more than willing to sit down with him and his parents to tell them of my experience in Wolfville.”
He said the small town of Wolfville — a college town of 4,200 people — offers a different atmosphere than schools in major cities like universities in Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton for example.
Kingston not only loved Acadia, he fell in love at the school. The scenic Nova Scotia college is where he met his wife, Leah Kingston, the principal of Highwood High School.
Kingston added he plans to contact Holy Trinity Academy head coach Matt Hassett in the future, but wasn’t able to squeeze in a visit from Cummins to the school due to their tight schedule on Jan. 23.
Foothills Falcon football coach Greg McLeod said having a contact to another successful program like Acadia will help his program and football in the area.
“It is good that the kids get exposed to whatever else is out there,” McLeod said. “We have kids who have goals to be Dinos (University of Calgary) or go to Saskatchewan or U.B.C. who probably never heard of Acadia, it might as well be on the other side of the planet.
“This is another chance to find a good fit for our students.”
He said this is the first time he has talked to a university coach from east of Manitoba about players from the Foothills.
Cummins received a list of potential players from McLeod — many of whom he was aware of — that he hopes to possibly communicate with in the future. He did not wish to disclose those names at this time.
He was unable to meet any players because Foothills Composite students were in the midst of final exams.