Young Eagles ready to take flight
Football: Foothills Bantams impress at annual jamboree
Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 06:00 am
There is no going back once the whistle blows on another season of Bantam football.
No mulligan or second chances to run a route or execute a play. Therein lies the beauty of the Foothills Bantam Eagles annual pre-season jamboree, a day’s worth of scrimmage to iron out the kinks against an opponent before the real games begin.
“We’re trying to find out where to place kids because until you get them into a game scenario you never know how confident they are at making tackles, making blocks or catching footballs,” said Eagles head coach John Price. “When you’ve got a different coloured jersey kid that can hit them, they get worried.
“You want to make sure that where you put them, they’re going to learn and not just get their head taken off.”
The Eagles posted an impressive 2-1 record at the jamboree, Saturday at Holy Trinity Academy, but more importantly gave the numerous first-year Bantams their first crack at someone wearing a different jersey.
“I learned a lot of new stuff because it’s much different than playing your own team in practice,” said first-year Bantam Parker Nakamura, who lines up at centre. “How to block, different team strategies…”
“It’s a much different experience. (I was) one of the best last year and I’m still okay, but it’s much harder.”
Nakamura and the offensive line could see lots of run blocking assignments to start the season as Foothills is expected to rely on its ground game. The likes of second-year tailback Jude Oh, slotback David Bowers and rookies Payton Burbank and Brandon Fortin will give quarterbacks Tyson Pitcher and Tyson Hartle an array of options in distribution.
“I want my O-line to learn to run block before they pass block,” Price said. “Run block is very aggressive and I want them to aggressive mindset first so run, run, run. When they get that then we will pass.”
Youth is in order on the other side of the ball as well as Foothills features just 13 returning players though several key incumbents remain.
“Last year we were a lot bigger, but I don’t think we played with as much intensity as we did this year,” said second-year Bantam Eagle Evan Bruynzeel. “The newer guys from Peewee coming up, they want to play.
The middle linebacker/defensive end is amongst strangers on a rookie-laden front seven, underscoring the importance of the pre-season showcase.
“I came into this jamboree thinking we weren’t going to do very well, we did actually pretty well. I’m happy about that,” Bruynzeel said. “We learned what we’re up against later on in the season.
“We’re more prepared than we would have been.”
Foothills opens its Calgary Bantam Football Association season tonight, Aug. 27, in Calgary versus the Stampeders. The Eagles then tango with the South Calgary Colts on Aug. 30.
Kick-off is 11 a.m. at Shouldice Park in NW Calgary.
For more information on the Foothills Eagles program visit gofa.ca