Where it starts

Ti­tans pro­gram gar­ners praise, envy

Sackville Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - Wal­lie Sears Write Call

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.

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