Where it starts
Titans program garners praise, envy
The Sackville Minor Football Association has proven to be a valuable training ground for young players, many of whom have gone on to compete at the high school and university levels.
The Sackville minor football program has gained an outstanding reputation among footballknowledgeable people, not only across New Brunswick, but much further afield.
And, obviously, the Tantramar Titans ongoing success has come as a result, as at least 95 per cent of their players have been honed and trained in a minor program long-led by Tim Cormier.
Your columnist has heard nothing but words of envy for the manner in which the system has continued to graduate top-ofthe-line peewee players who have go on to star not only at the high school level but at various universities across this country.
Currently, there are local products playing for such schools as St. F.X. and Mount Allison and over the years others have gone on to Saint Mary’s, Acadia and Bishop’s.
The Titans feature one player – Lucas Cormier – who has been named a U18 Canadian team allstar. Previously, Aidan O’neal was a member of the Canadian team, while dozens of others have been standouts on Team New Brunswick.
And how does the local program work?
Well, it all begins with kids as young as kindergarten who first are exposed in the form of flag football. This year the program is headed by Stacey Cormier whose motherly instincts contribute immensely to the comfort of the youthful athletes. They are really simply taught some of the terms used in the game, shown how to line up, foot placement and a start is made on creating “teamoriented” young men and women.
Tim Cormier, a former Titan linebacker/slotback in the 1990s, has served as head coach for as long as he cares to remember and recently was relieved of many of the administrative duties by Kent Johnson who accepted the presidency. Cormier has been the head coach of the peewee team that has brought home more than its share of honours and continues to recruit graduates of the Titan program to come back and pass on their knowledge.
This year, for instance, he has Jack Estabrooks – last season’s most outstanding player in N.B. high school football – back as his defensive coordinator, and Jeff Lafford – a top QB and receiver with the Titans – as offensive coordinator. Also working to develop budding talent are Ian Macintyre, who has been with the group for years, Mark Costillo, Kent Johnson and Art Kenny as well as the head coach.
At the atom level, the lead man is Isaac Cormier, also a former Titan and brother of Tim. He has a full staff as they take the kids from flag football and begin their ascent to the high school level.
Both the atoms and peewees perform with the usual success in the Moncton minor football league, and in their first match of the year the atoms crushed their opponents by more than 40 points.
It seems they are learning early to do what the high school team has been doing to teams from schools with enrollments many times greater than theirs.
And Tim Cormier is confident the system will continue successfully well into the future, especially after watching this year’s group of atom players.
Cormier deflects any plaudits, rather pointing to a number of other factors. He says the decision to cancel the bantam program and have peewees go directly to the Titans was a blessing, mainly due to the fact there simply weren’t enough athletes to supply two successful teams. This is obvious when considering the limited number of students now attending TRHS.
He also believes having Mount Allison coaches work closely with the young people during spring camp and whenever assistance is necessary plays a major role. Usually the Mountie coaches conduct the workouts for the TRHS Titans, with the TRHS Titan coaches working with the minors. However, local coaches also receive training from the Mounties, which Cormier terms invaluable.
Like their older mates, the minor players are on the field four times a week during the season and he says, to a player, their goal is to reach the point where they will be able to represent their high school successfully.
“We attempt to not only shape young people into talented football players but to help prepare them to become successful and contributing citizens to their community,” says Cormier, “and looking around we would have to say we have had a good deal of success.”
Certainly that success rate has been admirable and recognized throughout the football world and beyond.
Former Sackville Minor Football Association president Tim Cormier, shown above overseeing a drill at last year’s spring training camp, continues to help local youth become better athletes and future leaders in the community.