Knights hope to repeat history

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Holy Trinity Academy Knights head football coach Matt Hassett has studied history, and he would love to see history repeat itself.

Taking a page from the 2011 Knights, HTA has one of the school’s top athletes in the quarterback position for the 2017 season.

“In 2011 we didn’t really know who was going to be our quarterback and we put in Ryan Hassler because he is such a great athlete,” Hassett said. “This year, we are doing something similar with Adam Dielissen.”

All that 2011 Knights team did was finish second in the province. Hassler was named the team’s MVP that year.

The Grade 12 Dielissen has caught the ball rather than throw the ball the past two years at HTA.

However, he can run like the wind, and after years with the Foothills Eagles and the Knights programs, he’s got a high football IQ, according to Hassett.

“Adam has good speed and can make things happen if the pass isn’t there,” Hassett said.

He’s already proven he can lead HTA through the air.

The Knights played a jamboree scrimmage against the host Cardston Cougars and won by a 4-3 margin (TDs only, no special teams) on Aug. 26. The Knights had more yards passing than rushing in the scrimmage.

The first-year high school quarterback will have some help. Veteran runningback David Bowers has speed to burn. Meanwhile, Evan Bruynzeel is a horse at fullback — providing holes and also running through them. The Grade 12 Bruynzeel was the Knights leading rusher in Cardston.

Dielissen will be throwing to receiver Julian Jenkins, Riley Dellaire as well as his brother Nick Dielissen from time to time. Grade 10 student Ben Leggett will also see time as receiver.

“We will also be throwing to Bowers to take advantage of his speed and athleticism,” Hassett said.

The offensive line is a work in progress as Hassett waits for bodies to arrive back to school.

“We do have some work to do because some kids were away for Cardston,” Hassett said. “Miguel Villarreal is at centre. Jacob Kamajian will be one of the guys leading the line. Jacob Gulbransen who was on the U16 [South All-star] team is also on the line.”

Seth Obrigewitsch at offensive tackle is a Grade 12 student who has worked hard in the offseason and will be a leader.

The Knights have traditionally run a smash-mouth offence, but opened things up a bit last season under alumnus QB MVP Cameron Fietz.

Hassett expects the Knights to continue to have a 50-50 mix of running and passing under Dielissen.

The Knights will run a 4-3 defence with a veteran linebacking corps. The Knights 2016 defensive player of the year Bruynzeel is in the middle. He will once again stalk runningbacks and receivers.

He will be flanked by Grade 11 Spencer Kessel and the Grade 11 Peter Ottenbreit.

“Peter is a very good rugby player and has incredible speed from the outside,” Hassett said. “It’s a strong linebacking crew.”

Hassett — a former D-lineman with the Alberta Golden Bears and the national champion Calgary Colts — is pleased what he has seen in the defensive trenches for HTA.

“The line is pretty solid as well,” Hassett said. “We are working through a few things but Carson McKenzie, a tall-lanky, strong kid, is at defensive end.”

The defensive secondary has ball-hawk Michael Aiello at defensive back.

The secondary is also being helped out by Patrick Jelen at either halfback or cornerback, who transferred from Calgary powerhouse the Notre Dame Pride.

Julian Jenkins, a Knights soccer player, will kick for HTA.

The Knights start the season Sept. 1 when the host Holy Rosary Raiders from Lloydminster at 7:30 p.m. at Knights Field. HTA is hosting special events at some of their games this season.

At the Holy Rosary game the first 100 fans will receive t-shirts. At half-time there will be games for children 12 and under, as well as for older youth.

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