Hurricanes’ Eisho leaves a big OFC hole to fill

The Hamilton Hurricanes look to open the 2011 season on the road against the Burlington Braves at Nelson Field on Friday, August 26th at 7:30pm.

Around the conference, here are outlooks and predictions from each coach/team for the 2011 season:

Hamilton Hurricanes
Jason Hayes, Head Coach

Hurricanes, Leadership key to title…

Summary of 2010:
Our team battled some must-win games last year, which got us prepared for our playoff run. Our defence turned in spectacular efforts to lead us to the Ontario Football Conference final.

Prediction for 2011:
St Leonard and Ottawa will again be the favourites going into the season.

Team outlook:
The Hurricanes this year will be missing three-time Canadian Junior Football League player of the year, Aram Eisho (who will play for the McMaster Marauders in Ontario University Athletics) and team MVP Richard Akiki (St. Marys University). It will be pivotal that we find new team leaders to work towards another OFC title.

We hope to be a balanced team offensively with most starters returning. Defensively we feel our depth can help keep us in the upper echelon.

Star Players:
Our team will look to our Offensive Line with five seniors and our Defensive Backs with Tiger-Cat prospect Jamal George returning and Cody Lynch (former OUA rookie of the year).

Corner Steven Jordan will add to a good secondary and the coaching staff is excited to see many young receivers come game day.

Our team has 80 players currently on the roster making for some interesting position battles and tough dress competition.

Burlington Braves
Neil Lumsden, Head Coach

Braves ready for 2011

What is your prediction for the Burlington Braves for 2011?
I’m a rookie coach to the CJFL but I do know that there are a lot of very talented players and coaches in this league and the Braves look forward to a competitive 2011 season.

How does the team look for 2011 in regards to 2010?
I can only judge on what I’ve seen in our summer workouts and training camp and I know I have a group of players who are excited about the upcoming season and the fact that our home field at Nelson Stadium has a new synthetic surface it will make the home game experience a good one.

What do you believe the strong areas of the team are?
Again having only seen last years team in action a few times and now having reviewed all the 2010 game video we’ll be very similar to last year with respect to the pass and run systems. The Braves have lost some key vets from last year’s 6-2 team so we’ll be looking for a few new players to step up and distinguish themselves.

Who will be your impact players?
Returning players like Jason Diston, Bryan Summers, Evan Thompson will play key roles on the team.

Who are your new player additions and their high points?
Too many to count and as all coaches know questions will be answered once we get on the field and play a game so simply our rookies need to play a key role in our success.

What has changed in the team compared to 2010, making the team more competitive?
In 2010 the Braves were very competitive at 6-2 and were well coached and my plan is to take what was handed over and build on the work that Coach Davoren and his staff have done.

St Leonard Cougars
Steve Lalonde, Head Coach

Summary of 2010:
Team finished with a record of 5-3 and lost in the semi-finals

Prediction for 2011:
This season has the Cougars entering a new era. They have a new head coach in former Canadian Interuniversity Sports head coach and NJCAA head coach Steve LaLonde taking over. He has brought in an almost entirely new coaching staff with only a couple of returning coaches and a new attitude to the Cougars. They are following the motto “ALL IN” for the 2011 season. There is a lot of excitement this year with new schemes on both offense and defense but also some checked confidence as it will take time for everyone to get familiar with the new schemes and new expectations.

How does the team look for 2011 in regards to 2010?
The team looks very good albeit young, as there is a nice mix of returning and new players competing for positions. The skill positions are very deep with at least two starters competing at every spot. O-Line and D-Line are solid but lacking depth. There is a very positive attitude surrounding the players. They are playing with renewed confidence but more importantly with strict discipline.

What do you believe your strong areas, Offence/Defense/Special Teams etc. of the team are?
It is still too early to tell but overall team speed and athleticism is very good. Offensively and defensively, the players are learning new schemes and are beginning to show explosiveness on offense and aggressiveness and an attacking style on defense. There is also a strong emphasis on Special Teams, which should show improvement from last year. Our starting O-Line and D-line have all returning starters and should be one of our strengths going into the season

Who are your star players?
Right now it is too early to tell as we have so much competition for spots it is not fair to point out one or two players. Our motto is “All In” and therefore we are a TEAM with one heart and one mind and would rather emphasize the team than one or two players.

Who are your new player additions and their high points?
Unfortunately again it is hard to pinpoint new players and their high points as since we are a new staff all players are new to us and we are evaluating them on a daily basis

What has changed in the team compared to 2010, making the team more competitive?
The biggest change is at the top. With a new head coach and new staff there has been a renewed excitement brought into the Cougars locker room. There is much more emphasis on actions and accountability and a new emphasis on discipline both on and off the field. This has created a more family atmosphere among the players, which has also created more competition among the players but also more support among the players for one another.

The players have committed 100% to the new way of Cougars Football and we are all looking forward to an exciting and successful 2011 season.

Ottawa Sooners
Andy McEvoy, Head Coach

Ottawa Sooners here to win!

This year’s Ottawa Sooners are looking forward to continue to build on the successes of the last two seasons.

After advancing to the conference finals in their return to the OFC over the past two seasons the Ottawa Sooners are looking forward to the 2011 season.

The Ottawa Sooners program is pleased to be providing a program where they give their athletes an opportunity to continue to play football at the next level. Over the past two seasons the Sooners have sent 18 young men on to CIS football programs and five to NCAA Division l programs. Alex Mateas (Penn State), John Delahunt (UCONN), Dillon Guy (University At Buffalo), Ryan Doull (University of Virginia), and Eli Ankou (UCLA).

The Ottawa Sooners are very excited with the announcement that Rob Raistrick is the new team president. He has done an excellent job in expanding the Sooner Executive board while providing leadership and stability.

The coaching staff went through some changes for the upcoming season and the organization is very excited about the changes: Tristano Raponi and Steve Campagna are back from last year, Tom Denison will be coordinating the offense and the following men are all new additions: Derek Brown, Chase Elliot, Dwight Beckford, Richard Harris, Mike Gravelle, Andrew Leaflang, Paul Deek, and Mark Pilon.

Key Recruits: Andrew Vanpelt, L.B; Prenel Cave, DB; Soul Semalulu, DB; Zach Hamilton, LB; Josh Thompson, RB.

Key Veterans: Receivers Eric Letourneau, Jonathan McNulty and Markus Lovell; QB Yannick Rickli; and DB Tyler James.

After graduating over two thirds of starting roster from 2010, we feel with our youth we will be challenged in every game. We know how good the league is and we know we will be in a fight in every game we play this year. Our goal is to work hard, play every snap with intensity and focus. Our aim to is to progress and good better as the season progresses.

Offense – Balanced Run / Pass – Defense – Play with Speed – Special Teams – We want to win field position.

Prediction: Our goal is no different than any other team, to win the OFC and host the National

Brampton Bears
Ian Smith, President

Bears looking to speed for success

Summary of 2010:
We held our own with all the teams in the OFC, It’s attributed to the talented pool of players available in the GTA, Brampton and the surrounding areas this along with the talented coaching staff.

Prediction for 2011:
We need to be a .500 team, 4 wins 4 loses

How does the team look for 2011 in regards to 2010?
We feel that overall we have improved over last season. The biggest being team speed and roster size. We have also added a new offensive coordinator, Mike Leonard who is the offensive coordinator of the Brampton Bulldogs varsity team.

What do you believe your strong areas, Offence/Defense/Special Teams etc. of the team are?
Special Teams will be the strength of our team.

Who are your star players?
John Ellis and Ethan Anderson – Offensive Linemen. Ethan attended the Toronto Argo’s Rookie camp this year.

Who are your new player additions and their high points?
Tony Warrington, WR, 6’5,225 and he runs well.

What has changed in the team compared to 2010, making the team more competitive?
The team roster has increased and added coaches.

London Beefeaters
Jim Stevenson, Media Coordinator

Preparations well underway for the 2011 season:
The first two weeks of the Beefeaters’ pre-season camp are done and things are progressing well for the Beefs.

Week 1 was spent at our WADA training facility and was filled with testing, team meetings and on field drills for the various positions. Team sports psychologist Dr. Natascha Wesch also held a session with the players.

For Week 2, and the rest of the season, the team moved to the practice fields at John Paul II C.S.S. The team will continue to work out and study film at WADA on Wednesdays throughout the year. As Fanshawe and Western students start to arrive in London, the roster continues to grow and the executive and coaching staff are cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season.

So far there is a good mix of veterans and rookies. Leading the returnees are Hamilton Ti-Cat prospect Rob Varallo, All-Canadian defensive back Chris Vanmeppelenscheppink, All-Star kicker Carmine Gentile along with veterans Rob Bowman, Grant Weaver, Tyler Annen, Kyle Woldenberg-Puyda, Mike Walsh, Cody Burt, Cam Booth, Dave Clark, Mike Coombs, Rob Mori, Justin Thomson, Pete Moressa and Malcolm Noel. Two players who came to us last year from Western are back in camp, David Boric and Trevor Williamson.

Returning after a year’s absence are Ryan Harvey and Travis Kosmala. Among the rookies so far, the likes of RB Travis Ryan from Lucas, QB Nick Chapman from St. Joe’s, QB Justin Van Horik from Banting, OL Barry Clarke from Strathroy, LB Colton Cook from Beamsville, Evan Emery from South, David Garcia from STA, DB Kent Jones from Banting, DB Percy Jones from St. John’s, DL Chris Lass from St. Joe’s, LB Kevin Pera from Laurier, Steve Plaine from Strathroy, Jason South from Petrolia, Jordan Warwick from Clarke Road, Derek Jacobs from St. Joe’s and Jordan Thomas from Holy Cross in Strathroy have worked hard to make the team. As mentioned above, players are appearing daily as Fanshawe and Western students start to return to town for the fall.

Practice continues Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at JPII throughout the season except, of course, for those weeks when game day is Friday.

The team has added Aaron Geisler, a former O.F.C. All-Star running back, to the coaching staff. Besides coaching with the Beefs, Aaron is enrolled in the Masters of Coaching program at UWO. Head Coach Brad Winder’s other coaches include Tim Thomson, Nick Teall, Rob Annen, Cory Watson and Kyle Patience. Mike Circelli, from the UWO coaching staff, and former Waterloo Warrior player John Kublinskas, who now coaches at Laurier S.S. in London, have helped out at the pre-season camp. Rob Palbom, from WADA, returns as team trainer and John Hakkers is back as equipment manager.

The Beefeater coaches and executive expect this to be a very competitive year in the O.F.C. It is their hope, nevertheless, that by the end of the regular season they emerge as a strong candidate to capture the O.F.C. Championship and earn the right to host the Canadian Bowl in November.

Windsor AKO Fratmen
Mike Lachance, Head Coach

AKO Second to None

The 2010 OFC Season was a great year for the OFC. It was very competitive and balanced throughout the season. Here in Windsor, it was a frustrating year because we never established exactly what we were as a team. AKO never gained a “Team Personality” and therefore never reached our potential.

As for the 2011 campaign, it will once again be another fantastic and competitive year in our Conference. Our leadership in the OFC is outstanding, second to none, and we are definitely on the right track.

In 2011, AKO will look to rebound and re-establish itself as a power in the OFC, and will be looking forward to being a contender this season. Key areas on the team will be the Defence’s speed and athleticism. The Special Teams will also be dynamic, and will boast the return of All-Canadian Punter Jason Schneider (General Amherst, Amhertsburg, Ont.). On Offense, the Fratmen will look to rebound from 2010, and run the football with authority in the 2011 campaign.

AKO has had to endure many changes in the off-season, and some new administrators were brought in to help with the business aspect of the team. However, the biggest and most notable changes occurred with the hiring and promotions of three new coordinators. First, Jeff Baril was hired to be the Offensive Coordinator coming in from Winnipeg.

Secondly, Jerry Brun was promoted to Special Teams Coordinator from his previous position as DB’s Coach. Finally, former AKO Head Coach Mike Morencie returns to the Fratmen coaching staff as Defensive Coordinator after spending the past 15 years at the University of Windsor, of which 13 years were spent as Head Coach and 2 season as Offensive Coordinator. In addition to the changes on the coaching staff, AKO welcomes in 53 new players, and will boast a new attitude in its quest to win the OFC’s Teddy Morris Memorial Trophy and the 2011 Canadian Bowl.

AKO’s key returning players include:
FB Alex Gouin (General Amherst, Amhertsburg, Ont.),
LB Mason Beekhuis (Sandwich, LaSalle, Ont.),
LB Troy Holman (Holy Names, Windsor, Ont),
DL Kyle Nicoletti (Sandwich, LaSalle, Ont.),
DB DeAndre’ Jones (Herman, Windsor, Ont.),
WR Derrick Hurst (General Amherst, Amhertsburg, Ont.).

AKO’s new editions/rookies include:
RB Beau Lumley (Herman, Windsor, Ont.) – outstanding athlete, U.S. Scholarship hopeful, 2010 WECSSAA Newman Conference Offensive Player of the Year

DB Jake Nicoletti (Sandwich, LaSalle, Ont.) – tough, hard hitting, great against the run, 2010 WECSSAA Wilson Conference Defensive Player of the Year

DB Zach Shuian (Blenheim DHS, Blenheim, Ont.) – tough, hard hitting, great in coverage,

OL Mike Main (Winnipeg, Manitoba) – physical and athletic at the point of attack

WR Nick Baldassi (Assumption Collegiate School/Windsor Lancers, Windsor, Ont.) – big, strong, physical WR, who has transferred over after starting for 3 seasons for the Windsor Lancers.