Cougars set to kick off new sea­son

CEC looks to snuff out Flames in high school opener Sun­day

Truro Daily News - - SPORTS -

The Cobe­quid Cougars don’t ex­actly ease into the Nova Sco­tia School Ath­letic Fed­er­a­tion Foot­ball League sea­son.

The Cougars host the Sir John A Macdon­ald Flames in their open­ing game on Sun­day at James Macpher­son Sta­dium. Open­ing kick­off is set for 1 p.m.

“We’re go­ing up against a real jug­ger­naut,” said Cougars head coach Brent MacPhee. “Sir John A, no mat­ter how we play them, they’re go­ing be tough as heck, but we’re def­i­nitely putting our best foot for­ward against th­ese guys. We’d love to give them a good go. We haven’t had them at home in a cou­ple of years and we like it at home.”

The Flames de­feated the Cougars in a lop­sided semi­fi­nal in 2016, be­fore fall­ing to the Citadel Phoenix in a close cham­pi­onship game.

The Cougars have key holes to fill after grad­u­at­ing four all-stars last sea­son, in­clud­ing quar­ter­back Dustin Pet­ti­grew, who was also the league’s MVP on of­fence. Other grad­u­at­ing all-stars were de­fen­sive play­ers Sea­mus Meagher, Em­mitt Fitzger­ald and Tyler Ball.

Mike Adams, Grade 11, will han­dle quar­ter­back and kick­ing du­ties for CEC this sea­son. Adams en­joyed great suc­cess at the mi­nor level as a start­ing QB, most re­cently in 2015 when he led the Truro Freight­lin­ers to a pro­vin­cial ban­tam ti­tle.

Cobe­quid en­ters the new sea­son with about a dozen Grade 12 ath­letes, who will be called upon to lead the charge. Many will be asked to play on both sides of the ball, in­clud­ing se­nior Ri­ley Gabriel, who is ex­pected to see duty as a re­ceiver, de­fen­sive back and on spe­cial teams as a punt re­turner.

“We ba­si­cally are go­ing to play him as much as his fit­ness will al­low,” said MacPhee. “And the good news is, his fit­ness is ex­cel­lent.”

Gabriel and fel­low Cougar Kam­ryn Mathe­son played in the Foot­ball Canada Cup in July in Wolfville and both were se­lected to rep­re­sent Canada at the 2018 In­ter­na­tional Bowl in Texas in Jan­uary.

Mathe­son, a Grade 11 run­ning back/rover, was the NSSAFFL rookie of the year in 2016 and will also be called upon to play a piv­otal role.

The Cougars have been on the field for three weeks, but haven’t played any pre-sea­son games. And while MacPhee is op­ti­mistic about the new sea­son, he ad­mits it’s too early to tell how his squad stacks up.

“We’ve had set­backs and we’re miss­ing a few po­si­tions where we could be bet­ter, but then we have some where we’re as good as we’ve ever been, so hon­estly, I don’t know. We’re go­ing to be fine, I just don’t know if we’re go­ing to be world beat­ers yet.”

Mid­dle line­backer Dylan Benoit has been named cap­tain of the Cougars.

Fol­low­ing Sun­day’s opener, the Cougars visit Cole Har­bour on Sept. 18 for a game that will be tele­vised on Eastlink.

Joey sMitH/truro Daily News

After three weeks of prac­tice, the Cobe­quid Cougars are ready for game ac­tion. On Sun­day, the Cougars open the sea­son against the Sir John A Macdon­ald Flames at James Macpher­son Sta­dium at 1 p.m.

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