Team Canada seeks to reclaim U18 glory at 2020 International Bowl
By Mike Still
Forty of Canada’s best and brightest players at the U18 level will take to Texas on Wednesday, January 15 to show what they’re made of against the United States at the International Bowl. Team Canada has been historically successful against their American U18 counterparts, winning five of the last seven matchups, however it was the U.S. that came out on top last year 27-10.
All eight teams that participated in the Canada Cup have at least one representative on the U18 roster, led by Saskatchewan’s 11. Quebec — who fell to Saskatchewan 16-9 in the gold medal game — are just behind with ten players on roster.
Three players return from last year’s squad for the red and white, all of whom are on offence in linemen Thomas Brow (New Brunswick) and Ethan Pyle (Ontario), as well as running back Ryker Frank (Saskatchewan).
Brow is a versatile tackle/guard out of Saint John High School who has committed to St. FX for the 2020 season, while his fellow hoggie Pyle is a Guelph commit at guard who plied his trade playing against top level American competition while at Clarkson Football North.
Other linemen include 6’4”, 305-pound guard Keegan O’Neil, another Football North standout who has received interest on both sides of the border, as well as 6’4”, 386-pound CEGEP Division 1 champ Adam Lachance (Champlain Lennoxville) and athletic 6’4”, 280-pound tackle Derek Beaubien, one of many members of Canada’s roster who will be taking his talents to the University of Saskatchewan in 2020.
Frank — who stands at 5’11” and 170 pounds — is another University of Saskatchewan commit. He was all over the field in both the running and passing game for Team Saskatchewan, helping them claim their second straight Canada Cup gold medal while also displaying his talents for powerhouse Dr. Martin LeBoldus out of Regina, who won the provincial title this year.
Other running backs on the roster include Matthew Morin (Lloydminster, Alberta), Merton Theagene (Notre Dame, Quebec), Noah Anderson (Lord Tweedsmuir, British Columbia) and Xavier Gaillardetz (Seminaire St. Joseph, Quebec).
Morin — who stands at 5’9”, 170 pounds — is extremely difficult to tackle due to his stellar lower body strength (he squats 405 pounds). He was also a city champion this year in the Wheatland Football League. Theagene (5’11”, 180) is a multiple-time member of Team Quebec, who had 1610 scrimmage yards and 19 touchdowns in 11 games at the RSEQ Division 1 juvenile level, while Gaillardetz — a standout at the Division 1B juvenile level — scored in three different ways during the 1B Bol d’Or championship game this past year. Additionally, Anderson helped lead Lord Tweedsmuir to their first AAA championship game in 2019.
The quarterback position features two vastly different types of pivots in 6’2”, 165-pound University of Regina commit Noah Pelletier (Balfour, Regina) and 6’3”, 175-pound CEGEP standout Eloa Latendresse-Regimbald (Vanier, Quebec).
Pelletier is widely regarded as one of the top throwing high school quarterbacks in the nation, which was on full display during the Canada Cup. While Latendresse-Regimbald — the player of the game for the Cheetahs in their Bol d’Or loss to Champlain Lennoxville — is known for making plays with his feet, as evidenced by his 103 yards rushing in the championship game.
Both quarterbacks will have a familiar face to throw the ball to, as 5’11, 185-pound converted running back Iraghi Muganda (Notre-Dame, Quebec) is on the roster, as is 5’8”, 175-pound Daniel Wiebe, the top receiver at the Canada Cup who was on Holy Cross’ Saskatoon 6A city championship roster.
Raeshawn Blake — a 6’2”, 205-pound Western commit out of Central Catholic in Ontario — as well as Jackson Cooling, a McMaster commit and fellow Ontario product from the Independent Bowl champion Nelson Lords roster are also prime targets. However it’s 6’2”, 190-pound Nolan Ulm who is likely to give America troubles all game long. A leader for the Kelowna Owls since grade nine, the British Columbia product is an immense problem in single coverage and will be taking his talents to Eastern Washington in 2020.
All three of Saskatchewan’s starting linebackers from their gold medal roster are accounted for in Defensive MVP Seth Hundeby (Holy Cross, Saskatoon) as well as Tyson Krushelniski (Bishop James Mahoney, Saskatoon) and Lane Novak (Balgonie Greenall, Regina).
The trio from the prairies are all fast, physical and have exceptional football IQ. Hundeby was the first commit in Saskatchewan’s class of 2020 and was a Saskatoon 6A city champion. Novak committed to the Huskies a day after Hundeby and was a Regina 5A city champ, while Krushelniski — also known as the Krusher — has committed to the University of Alberta and got some bragging rights after his BJM squad defeated Greenall in the 5A provincial semi finals.
Not to be forgotten at the linebacker position are Isaac Dokken (Steinbach, Manitoba) and Xavier Malone (Mathieu-Martin, New Brunswick). Dokken was the University of Manitoba’s first commit in their 2020 class and did it all for the Steinbach Sabres as both a linebacker and running back. The former member of Team Canada’s U16 squad was also honoured at the end of the year as the Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL) Division 1 MVP, after helping the Sabres to their best-ever regular season finish at the Division 1 level.
Malone is a do-it-all athlete who helped Mathieu-Martin advance to the Acadie Cup. He was a menace during the Canada Cup, including blocking a punt and also forcing multiple fumbles.
The secondary features a stellar blend of size and athleticism and includes two members from Saskatchewan in 6’1” safety Tanner Reiber and 6’4” boundary halfback Carter Stadnyk, both of whom have committed to the University of Saskatchewan already.
Reiber was another standout for BJM this past year and had an exceptional pass knockdown at the goal line against Quebec with his squad up 6-3. Stadnyk — a 4A Saskatoon city champ with Centennial in 2018 — also did his part in the gold medal game with a key fumble recovery up 16-6 in the third, as well as a critical pass knockdown with Quebec driving with one minute left in the fourth quarter.
Other defensive backs on the roster include Charlie Deland — another University of Alberta commit who starred for perennial powerhouse St. Francis in Calgary — as well as Brandon Slobozian, a 6’2”, 188-pound product out of Manitoba who was phenomenal for Manitoba at the safety position. He was also a standout for WHSFL Division 1 juggernaut St. Paul’s, helping them regain the ANAVETS Bowl after being knocked off by Vincent Massey the year before.
The defensive line is layered with talent as well and includes 6’2”, 245-pound sack artist Kaishaun Carter — the heart and soul at defensive end and on the offensive line over the last four years for St. Thomas More in British Columbia — as well as fellow defensive end Jordan Friesen out of Manitoba.
The latter, who stands at 6’3” and 240 pounds, is a U of M commit and former U16 all-star who capped his high school career off in style by winning the WHSFL Division 1 Lineman of the Year award, while also being named as a co-winner of the Division 1 Most Outstanding Player award.
Rounding things out positionally is kicker Émile Choquet. He has ice in his veins in key situations, including netting the game-winning field goal from over 30 yards out against Alberta in 4OT during a 29-27 win over Alberta in the Canada Cup.
For more on the roster, schedule, streaming information, and all things 2020 International Bowl, visit Football Canada’s website.
This post is also available in: French