Young Eagles learning the ropes
Football: Bantam jamboree kicks off new campaign
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 06:00 am
The Foothills Bantam Eagles enjoyed an appetizer before the main course arrives on the gridiron this week.
For rookie cornerback/linebacker Seth Nelson the Foothills Eagles Jamboree on Saturday at Holy Trinity Academy offered a golden opportunity to dip his toes into Bantam football.
“I’m just trying to prove myself because I’m one of the smallest guys,” said Nelson, noting the various challenges. “Just trying to keep up with the bigger guys and tackling on the outside. I’m pretty fast so that’s why they put me there, to keep up with receivers.”
The jamboree featured the Eagles, Calgary’s Mavericks, Stampeders and Wildcats in 45-minute scrimmages in a half-field setting where each offence had 10 plays to muster as many points and yardage as possible.
“We did pretty well,” Nelson said. “It’s not so much about winning, but about intimidating other teams and getting our positions right.”
In the absence of a number of players at this early juncture, the scrimmages allowed for head coach John Price to dole out playing time from top-to-bottom on the roster.
“That’s what this is about, some of those other kids that might not get into that many plays in a real game setting,” Price said. “During an exhibition, controlled setting, they can get in there and get some exposure with kids like-minded with them.”
Fullback Conor McGee said the jamboree was a litmus test for what the Eagles can expect once the real games start this week in the Calgary Bantam Football Association (CBFA).
“It’s mostly a look at how we’re doing position wise and see what skills we have,” McGee said. “To just practice and see what the other teams bring.
“We need to work on a couple things, but overall it was a pretty good effort.”
Foothills will need such effort consistently to match what they did last season.
In 2012, the Eagles finished 6-2 in the regular season and broke new ground by qualifying for the Tier I playoffs for the first time before ultimately losing out in the semifinals.
Foothills boasts a number of incumbents in gunslinger Blake Klotz and tailback Tyler Going, among others, along with 14 players coming up from the Peewee Eagles, silver medalists in the city finals last year.
“It’s a good young team,” noted Price. “We’ve got a very fast team. We’re not big, but I would take a speed and athletic over big any day.”
Klotz is expected to share snaps under centre with first-year quarterback Tyson Pitcher and Josh Simms, a relative newcomer to the sport since moving to the Foothills from England.
There’s no shortage of options in the backfield as Going, McGee, Jude Oh and Klotz operating as a slotback will all be given opportunities to run with the ball.
McGee, a second year Bantam Eagle, said he’s encouraged by the youth movement on the roster, adding the squad can take momentum coming off such a building year.
“The offensive line is doing really well, we’ve got lots of skill coming up,” said McGee. “We’re actually going to do really well this year, maybe not Tier I, but we have the potential to do well.”
The Eagles opened their slate in the CBFA on Tuesday, but results were too late for press time. Foothills is again in Calgary on Saturday for a meeting with the Stampeders at Shouldice Park at 11 a.m.
To find the full schedule go to cbfa.ab.ca and for more information on the Eagles visit gofa.ca