Bohan continues to be dominant force after transition from high school to university football

Tribune-Post Staff
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Michael Bohan, shown above running the ball during the 2013 season, is expected to only get better as he continues his university football career.

He definitely doesn't need any introduction as he has made his presence known throughout this region over the past five years as one of the finest football players ever to come out of Tantramar Regional High School, but Michael Bohan may have barely scratched the surface of the unlimited potential locked inside his athletic 6’1", 200-pound body.

When he was being recruited by universities from across the country, including Queen's and Acadia, he visited the home of the Mounties and immediately fell in love with the home-like family atmosphere and is totally happy with his decision.

But the first words he heard from Kelly Jeffrey were that he should forget the idea of coming in as a quarterback but concentrate on being the best defensive back he could be.

"I remember very well," says Bohan, "that coach Jeffrey told me I could become an all-conference quarterback but I had the skills to become an all-Canadian defensive back.  That didn't make be overly happy but now that I look back I can totally agree with his assessment."

During his three seasons as a Titan Bohan did it all but carry the water bucket. He was the premiere quarterback in N. B. football, played safety on defense, ran back punts and kicks, performed punting and kicking duties, took over at middle linebacker, did some receiving and even, on one occasion, held the ball for another kicker. In other words, he didn't waste time and energy by trotting on and off the field - he simply stayed in the huddle every rep. In his final high school game he scored a touchdown on a 78-yard punt return and a second on a 64-yard run from scrimmage even though the Titans were edged 14-13 by MacNaugfhton for the league title.

So, making the transition from high school to university football, a most difficult leap at the best of times, meant Bohan would be trying out for the one position he never tried. But he was willing to give it his all and he spent hours with defensive specialist Scott Brady during the summer resulting in his starting the very first game with the Mounties and he has performed in all 16 since.

During his first year with the Mounties Bohan caught the eye of opposing coaches as he snared three fumble recoveries, recorded 19 tackles, had an interception and caused havoc in his new role. During the just completed season the Sackville native turned a new page as he racked up 37.5 tackles, had an interception and numerous breakups. And he added a new dimension - that of punt returner where he chalked up 552 yards on 52 attempts, adding another 141 yards on six kick returns.  As a result he was a unanimous choice as the all conference special teams player as punt returner.

The question of what role he will next be asked to fill is on the minds of many fans.  If required, Michael Bohan could step in, especially in an emergency, to fill in at quarterback and would create another threat - that of running the option with his speed and quickness. Or he might go it as a receiver or kicker, but his specialty will always be as punt returner as he showed with a neat run against Laval in the Uteck Bowl, which set up the Mounties' first touchdown.

Michael Bohan is convinced the Mounties coaching staff is the class of the conference, one where players can approach easily on any matter and receive a proper reply. He describes the situation as being "in the comfort zone”.  He credits Brady for much of his success and Jeffrey for recognizing where he would be most successful and says the development of a great team chemistry - a family atmosphere as he describes it - has contributed immensely to the team's success.

As usual, he was asked to identify a single factor that resulted in the team turnaround from a struggling 1-4 record to a 4-4 record, good for second place and followed up with a pair of playoff victories to claim the Atlantic Conference championship.

Like many of his colleagues he is unable to place a finger on the moment of truth – if there was such a time – but he believes it was the decision by the entire team to stick to its plan, correct many of its errors and improve on the things that were working.

He heaps praise on Jordan Botel for being a workhorse who kept the offense going until quarterback Brendan Leyh found his "mojo" to lead the team to the promised land.

"Leyh really took responsibility on his shoulders, picked up his game considerably and with his new found aerial game made life a lot easier for all of us, including Botel who found a little more room with the opposition not looking for him on every down."

The presence of outstanding rookie receiver Rodereke Joseph was another major factor as his presence changed the game, as two and three players were required to cover the talented and speedy sure-handed youngster. Bohan says this loosened up the defenses, allowing receivers like Troy Trentham and Josh Blanchard to become all-stars. So, it seems to have been a combination of factors that resulted in the Mounties putting Sackville on the map once again and making all their fans proud of their accomplishments.

Asked to name the player he finds most difficult to cover, Bohan said it would have to be Joseph in practice and Tyler Renaud of Acadia in live action. But he admits there are a good many game breakers on all of the teams.

The Titan alumnus believes the Mountie program has turned the corner and is geared up to remain competitive into the future. He says that with the strong coaching staff, a solid nucleus of young players and some successful recruiting the results should be positive for years to come.  But he feels it is imperative to find a couple of strong running backs since Botel is finished and to bring in young talented athletes who will be ready to step up when others graduate – that is the secret of success.

Michael Bohan is currently in the science program, emphasizing chemistry, with a long term goal of spending years in the classroom as has his father, who was with the Mounties a generation or so ago. Should offers appear to move up into the pro ranks he would be pleased and proud but is not looking in that direction, at least not at this point in time.

Bohan says he is so happy to have played at home in the Uteck Bowl and to have seen what looked like the entire town in the stands offering support to their Mounties.

"Everybody seems to have adopted our slogan of Mountie Pride and it's just great seeing so many friends from the area coming out to offer their vocal and moral support."

Organizations: Tantramar Regional High School, Queen's

Geographic location: Acadia, Sackville

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