#CFCOVFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: JV Myers Riders complete perfection

The junior varsity Ottawa Myers Riders have officially completed a perfect season, capping an 8-0 record with a 42-8 win over the Durham West Dolphins.

Reflecting on the season, Head Coach Matt Kassner says it is important to remember how hard it is to go undefeated over an eight-game stretch.

“This is my fourth year coaching and we have always lost one game in the past,” Kassner said. “We definitely got some bounces to go our way in a few games that have not gone our way in past years.”

Still, he is trying to remind his players not to focus on their successes, and instead to look towards their ultimate goal.

“At the end of the day, our goal is a championship,” Kassner says. “Even if a perfect season is nice, it does not mean much if you cannot finish off that championship.”

To win it all, Kassner says it will take offensive execution and defensive consistency. Going into the season, he had major concerns about whether the young defensive unit would be able to hold up.

“Coming out of the regular season I think we proved ourselves defensively,” Kassner said. “It is now one of our stronger aspects.”

AJ Oickle

AJ Oickle, the team’s middle linebacker, can be identified as a major reason for the defence’s weekly improvements. Oickle is leading the team in tackles (25) and solo sacks (5).

“He is a leader on defence, and I think everyone else brings up their level of play to match what he is doing,” Kassner said.

Offensively, the Myers Riders have focused heavily on their running game. Running back Jean-Paul Cimankinda has 2127 yards and 29 touchdowns, easily leading the league in both categories.

In the playoffs, Kassner says it will be important to improve on other aspects of the team’s offensive game plan.

“The one thing we might want to change is our passing game,” Kassner said. “We have had a great running game, but we want to get some balance going into the playoffs.”

Jean Paul Cimankinda

Kassner says quarterback Brayden Lassenba has come a long way since the start of the season, emerging as a key to the Myers Riders’ success.

“He started the season a little shaky, but as it went on, he started to make some better reads and some better plays,” Kassner said.

Ultimately, the Myers Riders have the talent to compete with any team. According to Kassner, success will depend on execution.

“I think our players really want it this year… we are playing as a unit,: added the Myers Riders Head Coach,

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