FCC2018 PREVIEW: ALBERTA
Coming into the 2018 Football Canada Cup, Alberta wants to give the hometown crowd something to cheer about and hope playing in their own backyard will be lucky this time around.
“Quebec has won the last two Football Canada Cups and we’ve been ahead of Quebec for 0 to 45 to 50 minutes of play,” Head Coach Chris Morris commented. “I think they took the lead on us in the last minute of play.”
“We just have to make a few more plays to win this thing. Here in Alberta, we’re not just here to have a good time; Alberta is going in every year to win the Football Canada Cup. We feel we have the talent to do it. We just have to make the plays at the right time.”
Over the years, the provincial program has been fortunate to get high quality talent from within the community.
“The strength of Alberta football is the nature of the kids we have here,” Morris said. “These coaches in the community here always do a wonderful job here creating selfless players, creating physical players, creating guys who play the game the right way.”
“The high school coaches always give us some kids we can work with and always be competitive with. Over the past few years, we have been very athletic, maybe not as athletic as some of the other teams but shown well against some of the top teams in the country. That’s a testament to the blue-collar mentality we bring here in Alberta and it’s always first and foremost showcased on the field.”
Alberta’s offence will be led by quarterbacks Anton Amundrud and Tristan Lefebvre.
“Anton has one of the best arms I’ve ever seen in a kid at that age; he’s only a grade 10 kid and has got a tremendous upside in the ability to throw the football, mature for his age and brings a lot to the table,” Morris added. “Tristan is another tremendous talent – big, long kid who throws the ball as well.”
“Neither one of them is a running type quarterback who is going to scamper away and running plays behind them. I don’t think you can win the Football Canada Cup with a quarterback who is a runner. I think you need someone who can throw the ball and we have two who throw very well.”
Aside from the quarterbacks, Alberta’s offensive line will be tough for opponents to bypass once again at the tournament. Jacob Weller highlights the linemen, while Kalin Betts, Cody Neumann, Albert Reese and Zach McNeil are players to watch.
As for their running back core, Matthew Peterson is returning from last year’s team and he along with Justin Quinones will be expected to contribute in Alberta’s success on offence. The team also boasts a strong receiving core led by Jaxon Hume, Ajou Ajou, Tanner Shaw and Adley Mayala.
Defensively, Alberta has some strong linebackers including Daniel Flanagan and Gabriel Speerin. Isaih Neil highlights the defensive line while Tyshon Blackburn and Romeo Nash will anchor Alberta’s secondary.
On Monday July 16th, the host team will open their tournament against British Columbia at 7:30pm MST.
“I know from watching them last year, that was a very athletic group,” Morris recalled. “They’re going to have some athletic players we’re going to be playing on Monday.”
“Preparing for them, you have to be sound; they use different formations. They have some very skilled offensive coaches who try to use formations to put you in a bind. Their defensive staff do a really good job at making sure the kids play physical. It will be a challenge for us; that’s a formidable opponent. We’re excited to play them; we’re going to have to play very well, very hard and physical to get out of that game.”
2017 RESULT: lost to Ontario 34-29 in bronze medal game, finished fourth
HEAD COACH: Chris Morris – third year
NUMBER OF RETURNING PLAYERS: 3
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
|Tristan Lefebvre||QB||Ernest Manning|
|Jacob Weller||OL||Notre Dame|
|Justin Quinones||RB||Austin O’Brien|
|Jaxon Hume||REC||Harry Ainlay|
|Ajou Ajou||REC||Harry Ainlay|
|Adley Mayala||REC||Bishop O’Byrne|
|Daniel Flanagan||LB||St. Francis|
|Gabriel Speerin||LB||St. Joseph’s|
|Isaih Neil||DL||Harry Ainlay|
|Tyshon Blackburn||DB||St. Francis|
|Romeo Nash||DB||Notre Dame|
This post is also available in: French