Two Moncton Players represent Canada on Team World

Dylan Hollohan and Cameron Wade have been buddies since middle school, were star athletes at Bernice MacNaughton High School and have now gone their separate ways to promising university football careers.

Cameron Wade Dylan Hollohan But this week the Moncton natives are back together again to play the biggest football game of their lives.

Hollohan, a cornerback with the St. Francis Xavier X-Men, and Wade, a safety with the Acadia Axemen, will play for the World team against Team USA Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in a one-game showdown featuring many of the globe’s top players 19-years-old and under.

The game is an official Pro Bowl Week event designated by the National Football League — the Pro Bowl all-star game will be played Sunday in Miami — and the NFL Network will provide live coverage of Team USA vs. The World Saturday at 1 p.m.

The World team is made up of 45 players from eight countries, including 32 from Canada. Hollohan and Wade were selected to a preliminary list of 100 eligible players before the roster was finalized earlier this month after the coaching staff watched game film, poured over statistics and talked with coaches.

“Just getting into the potential 100 players was an honour itself,” Hollohan said.

“When I got the e-mail that I made the team, I was pretty much speechless,” added Wade. “This is probably the best experience I’ve ever been handed.”

Hollohan and Wade are practising with Team World in Fort Lauderdale this week. An intensive schedule includes two-a-day practices, learning the playbook, adjusting to a shorter and narrower field and smaller lineup (one less player aside) and gelling with new teammates.

There will be benefits, too. The players are expected to mingle with NFL Pro Bowl players, who will practise Saturday at Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium before the Team USA vs. The World game.

“This has been my dream pretty much since I was young. I’ve always been interested in the NFL, I’ve always looked up to those guys and it sounds kind of funny to say, but being there and meeting these players will be like a dream come true,” Wade said.

“I can come home now and kick back on Sundays and watch the NFL on TV and say, ‘Hey, I met some of those guys.'”

This is a business trip, too. Team USA is full of top high school seniors from across America; many have committed to top NCAA Division 1 college programs.

“I have no idea of the calibre of the players we’ll face, but we know they’ll be good. I’ve never played against anyone that highly recruited before, so it should be quite an experience,” Hollohan said.

“I always want to be a playmaker on the field, I just want to be in on the plays. If I’m out there, I’m not going to shy away from things. I’m 19 and one of the older guys on the team, so I’ll try to lead the younger guys, but hopefully they won’t need it.”

Hollohan is coming off a breakout season at St. FX. The sophomore was selected a second-team all-Canadian after leading the Atlantic University Sport conference with five interceptions as well as recording 16.5 tackles and breaking up six passes in eight regular-season games. Wade, 18, registered 7.5 tackles in eight games as a rookie at Acadia.

Hollohan and Wade aren’t the first Highlanders products to compete in an international competition recently. Linebacker Ed McNally, now at Acadia, helped Canada place second at the International Federation of American Football world junior championship last summer in Canton, Ohio.

“Ed is one of my best friends and we talked a lot about his trip. He’s pretty excited for me and told me it should be the time of my life,” Hollohan said.

The two players have come a long way from their days winning New Brunswick championships at Bernice MacNaughton and expect that will all sink in when they take to the field Saturday.

“It’s going to be nice to experience this with Dylan. Maybe we’ll gel together out in the secondary and make some plays. Hopefully we’ll run around like we used to as kids and have a lot of fun with this,” said Wade. “This is one of the biggest events of my life and I’m going to work my tail off, but try to stay cool and enjoy it, too.”

Former flamboyant NFL star-turned-broadcaster Deion Sanders will provide commentary of the game on the NFL Network Saturday. “If I get a chance, if I get an interception and I’m heading to the end zone,” said Hollohan, “I’ll be sure to do the Deion dance on the way there.”

SOURCE: By Sean Hatchard

Times & Transcript Staff

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