#CFC50 HS game preview (MB): St.Paul’s Crusaders collide with the VM Trojans

On Friday night the Winnipeg High School Football League has a rematch of last year’s Anavets Bowl. The Varsity champion, #CFC50 No. 14 Vincent Massey Trojans, will be heading to the #CFC50 No. 17 St.Paul’s to collide with the Crusaders in what should be an exciting football game.

Last season the Crusaders took the first out of two matchups with the Trojans, but in the end Vincent Massey earned the bragging rights by winning in the big game, 22-12.

Members on each of these teams have played beside each other for years and there is mutual respect between many. I asked Kelsy McKay, coach of the Trojans, what the mood is like between two great teams, he said, “Many of our players have known their players for a number of years, even playing together a couple years ago in the U16 Program. They’re respectful of each other, and we expect a very competitive game.” Coach Dainard of the Crusaders added, “I guess if anything there is a little more respect as they know each other better although there was a lot of respect present before that.”

Every season teams have to lose some valuable players. Keenan Onyebuchi was one of Massey’s playmakers last season but the senior moved on to the Manitoba Bisons in the offseason. “Keenan Onyebuchi was a gifted natural athlete, a ‘playmaker’,” mentioned McKay. “But we all know football is the ultimate team sport, so we’re very confident that we’ll be fine this year on Defense and Special Teams.”

The will have #CFC100 DE Jalen Burley, however, to soften the blow.

Photo cred- Glenn Dickson

Photo credit: Glenn Dickson

After winning the program’s first varsity championship last season, the Trojans have plenty to be excited about this year. Many of this year’s seniors have been in Massey’s football program since grade 9, Coach added, “This is their last year together, playing together, and so it’s a special feeling amongst our Seniors, as they are really starting to appreciate their friendships, and they realize how life will change for all of them, after this year.”

Heading into the 2016 year, the St.Paul’s Crusaders are fortunate to bring back 11 starters from last season’s team such as #CFC100 DB Shae Weeks. The 2015 Crusaders were “perfect” in the regular season 7-0, but fell to their rival Massey in the final, a game which either team could have won.

One of the key’s for St.Paul’s to defeat Massey is for them to protect the football, which the Crusaders did not do very well in the 2015 Anavets Bowl. Second key is to play sound, fundamental football- tackle well and block well. Finally,”Intensity and aggression are always important but in this game resilience is also important as we know they are a good team, they will make plays and we need to be mentally strong enough to deal with that and still play our game.”

Stacy Dainard is entering his 15th year as head coach and 22nd with the team. I talked to him about what it means to be with such a prestigious club for so long. Coach explained, “I am honoured to hold the position I do, I am blessed to have had a long list of tremendous coaches to work with both on the AAA team and on the other teams that our school has.” This year St.Paul’s has approximately 130 student athletes on 3 teams this year and that has been a consistent thing over the years. “As well many alumni come back to help out with the program so that is affirming as well,” concluded Dainard.

Game time is 5 p.m at St.Paul’s on Friday September the 9th. We at CFC think that St.Paul’s will play a complete game and earn bragging rights for the regular season.

Photo cred- Glenn Dickson

Photo credit: Glenn Dickson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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