Next stop, Jerry World

WDHS foot­ball play­ers head­ing to Dal­las to play for Team On­tario

Simcoe Reformer - - SPORTS - JA­COB ROBIN­SON jrobin­[email protected]­

Any young player who has strapped on a foot­ball hel­met has dreamed of play­ing on a Na­tional Foot­ball League field in Dal­las.

Three 15-year-old mem­bers of the Water­ford Wolves will live that dream early in 2019.

Af­ter a one-day try­out fea­tur­ing hun­dreds of play­ers from across the prov­ince, Water­ford na­tives Taye Lovell, Ben Baruth and Tan­ner Geerts of Teeter­ville have been cho­sen as part of Team On­tario to com­pete at the Un­der-17 In­ter­na­tional Bowl at the home of the Dal­las Cow­boys, AT&T Sta­dium in Ar­ling­ton, TX.

The trio and their team will take part in a train­ing camp be­gin­ning Jan. 6 and face-off ver­sus Team USA Jan. 12. AT&T sta­dium – nick­named Jerry World in a nod to Cow­boys owner Jerry Jones – is said to be North Amer­ica’s most spec­tac­u­lar sports area. It seats 80,000 and cost a whop­ping $1.2 bil­lion to con­struct.

Earn­ing a spot on Team On­tario was no cake­walk, said Lovell – who plays cor­ner­back.

“I knew some of the guys there but that was the most cor­ners I’ve ever seen – there was like 60 of us try­ing out for that one po­si­tion and seven of us made it, so that was pretty cool in it­self,” he said. “A lot of the kids were quite good.”

Geerts was sur­rounded by a cou­ple dozen of­fen­sive line­men but made an im­pres­sion on the coach­ing staff, which is led by Tom Flax­man of the Mcmaster Ma­raud­ers.

“It was amaz­ing,” said Geerts, a mem­ber of the Brant­ford Bisons or­ga­ni­za­tion. “We all did our best and all made it.”

The Wolves are com­ing off a Haldimand- Nor­folk Bowl vic­tory, the school’s first since 2013. Water­ford trailed Mckin­non Park for much of the fi­nal con­test un­til Baruth – their trusty kicker – nailed a 37-yard field goal at­tempt with time wind­ing down to give WDHS the lead.

The win not only gave all three play­ers the op­por­tu­nity to stay sharp but some more self-as­sur­ance go­ing into Satur­day’s try­out.

“I was re­ally ner­vous kick­ing the field goal and once I hit that, the con­fi­dence went up an­other level,” said Baruth.

“It’s go­ing to be a pretty sick ex­pe­ri­ence for all three of us com­ing from a small town and go­ing to Texas, AT&T Sta­dium.”

Lovell, Geerts, and Baruth aren’t plan­ning on sim­ply en­joy­ing the trip but mak­ing some noise when they ar­rive.

“I want to push to start and I have con­fi­dence I will start,” said Lovell, a Bisons team­mate of Geerts. “There’s go­ing to be lots of scouts, it’s a good op­por­tu­nity. I’m hop­ing I just play re­ally well and peo­ple no­tice me.”

Re­gard­less of how things go on the field, all three WDHS rep­re­sen­ta­tives know they have a built-in sup­port sys­tem dur­ing the jour­ney.

“It’s pretty awe­some be­cause if I went with­out them I would know no one there,” Baruth points out. “There’s peo­ple I know go­ing and we’ll have a fun time.”

JA­COB ROBIN­SON/ Sim­coe Re­former

Af­ter help­ing the Water­ford Wolves win their first Haldimand-nor­folk Bowl ti­tle since 2013 last month, the trio of Tan­ner Geerts, Taye Lovell and Ben Baruth will com­pete with Team On­tario in the In­ter­na­tional Bowl at AT&T Sta­dium in Dal­las in Jan­uary.

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