On the list

Suc­cess­ful grid­iron squad lands in 26th spot in list of top 50 in Canada

Sackville Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - Wal­lie Sears Write Call

The Tantra­mar Ti­tans, one of Canada’s most dom­i­nant high school teams over the past four sea­sons, hold down the No. 26 spot in the foot­ballchat.com na­tional rank­ings.

With an early on­rush of win­ter – plenty of snow, freez­ing tem­per­a­tures and high winds – and the wrap up of foot­ball in Canada with the com­ple­tion of the Grey Cup and Vanier Cup, it may seem un­sea­son­able to again talk about our own Tantra­mar Ti­tans.

But the most re­cent ar­rival of the list­ing of the top-50 high school foot­ball teams in Canada is rea­son enough to take time to dis­cuss the sig­nif­i­cance of where the lo­cal squad is ranked in re­la­tion to the hun­dreds of teams across the na­tion.

Be­cause of their im­pec­ca­ble record over the past four months, the Ti­tans have climbed the rank­ings to hold down the 26th spot, as com­piled by canadafoot­ballchat.com.

The rank­ings are is­sued each week dur­ing the sea­son and the Ti­tans have risen from num­ber 32 to 26 to be­come the first At­lantic Prov­inces squad to ever be ac­corded such an hon­our.

The only other team from the At­lantic to be ranked is Ci­tadel of Hal­i­fax at num­ber 33. All of the oth­ers come from the power cen­tres in B.C., Al­berta, On­tario and Que­bec, with a few from Saskatchewan.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, na­tional rank­ings can be­come sub­jec­tive, es­pe­cially at the univer­sity level where St. F.X. was in sev­enth spot be­fore be­ing crushed 63-0 by Laval and sud­denly dropped out of sight.

The po­si­tion had been held tem­po­rar­ily by both St. Mary’s and Aca­dia be­fore the X-men came on like gang­busters to cap­ture the At­lantic Con­fer­ence crown and ad­vance to the Uteck Bowl.

But the Ti­tans have re­mained in the top-50 high school rank­ings for the past four sea­sons, since they be­gan their amaz­ing run to four provin­cial cham­pi­onships and a record of 36 vic­to­ries in 37 out­ings.

It’s hoped res­i­dents of not only this re­gion but those across this coun­try re­al­ize the sig­nif­i­cance of such an ac­com­plish­ment by the stu­dents of likely the small­est school com­pet­ing at such a high level.

As foot­ball ex­perts have pub­lished na­tion­ally, the cham­pi­onship teams from every prov­ince fea­ture out­stand­ing lead­er­ship and es­pe­cially at the coach­ing level.

Your colum­nist has spo­ken with a num­ber of Moun­ties play­ers who have ob­served the Ti­tans in ac­tion. A for­mer mem­ber of the Ci­tadel team in Hal­i­fax said the two schools are play­ing a very sim­i­lar level and it’s mainly due to the coach­ing.

An­other, from a fairly large school in On­tario, voiced sim­i­lar views, claim­ing the coach­ing here is per­haps the best he has seen at the high school level.

The lo­cal team has come a long way in the past 10 years due a num­ber of wise moves, in­clud­ing the elim­i­na­tion of the ban­tam pro­gram and ab­sorb­ing pee­wee grad­u­ates di­rectly on to the team.

There was a long dry spell when the big­ger schools took out their frus­tra­tions by run­ning up huge scores against the Ti­tans but those days are long gone. But the ques­tion re­mains, will the coach­ing staff be suc­cess­ful in weav­ing its magic in fu­ture sea­sons or will some of the other schools take a more se­ri­ous ap­proach and pro­vide more se­ri­ous chal­lenges.

Only time will tell but in the mean­time the school can bask in the glory of be­ing ranked with the very best foot­ball teams in all of Canada.

SCOTT DO­HERTY – SACKVILLE TRI­BUNE- POST

The Tantra­mar foot­ball Ti­tans re­cently climbed the top 50 high school foot­ball teams in Canada rank­ings, now sit­ting at 26. Much of the credit for the team’s per­for­mance in re­cent year’s goes to the coach­ing staff, led by Scott O’neal, shown above work­ing with play­ers in the lo­cal mi­nor foot­ball sys­tem dur­ing the 2017 spring train­ing camp.

PAMELA SCH­NEI­DER PHOTO

Sev­eral mem­bers of the 2018 Tantra­mar foot­ball Ti­tans squad hoist this year’s cham­pi­onship tro­phy last month. The Sackville team has won the last four con­sec­u­tive provin­cial cham­pi­onship ti­tles.

PAULDLYNCH.COM PHOTO

Tantra­mar Re­gional High School’s foot­ball pro­gram has be­come a re­cruit­ing mecca for uni­ver­si­ties through­out the re­gion. Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity, for ex­am­ple, has wel­comed many of the lo­cal high school’s play­ers into the fold, in­clud­ing Aidan O’neal, shown above run­ning the ball in an Oct. 28 game against the St. FX X-men.

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