Scott O’Neal appears to be a happy camper watching his four-year experiment nearing its potential as he and his assistants whip 30-35 young men into shape to launch, what he expects to be, a highly successful campaign in the New Brunswick High School Football League.
A huge and unexpected bonus came recently when a dozen students in Grade 12 appeared in camp when he was anticipating only four. He says some of the newcomers have some football experience while some don’t but that they are all strong athletes.
He declines to name names or even to say on whom the coaches will lean to bring leadership to the team, which will open play on Sept. 5 in Moncton against Harrison Trimble Trojans.
But O’Neal says he will field a lineup of big men, which will help considerably as the Titans return to their “smash mouth” style of hard running offense.
“With the assistance of the Mountie coaching staff we have tweaked our playbook, which should prove helpful.”
He says Kelly Jeffrey, Scott Brady and Gaetan Richard have proven wonderful helpers as he attempts to develop a strong team at tiny Tantramar.
Three years ago the local bantam program was shut down and these players were absorbed into the Titan program. As a result those who were in Grade 9 have now absorbed a good deal of knowledge and understanding of the Titan system and, in theory, should be ready to step into the breach.
He also believes that the minor system is fully on side so that every player from the very youngest is taught the same system so they will have a proper handle on what is expected of them when they don the big T.
While the camp opened on Aug. 12 – the earliest on record – attendance has been good although a few more may turn up when classes get underway. As usual, some boys may be involved in fishing, farming or blueberry picking and end up late for the training period. However, he says that situation has not been so pronounced this time as in past years.
Fans may catch practice sessions each evening between 6- 8, Monday to Friday. After school sessions will be held following the startup of classes.
Last season was a bit of a disaster for the Titans as they posted just one victory and one tie against five defeats. This was unusual as the team has a proud record even though they compete against schools with four times the enrolment. So the promise of a return to better days is a welcome one for fans and Titan alumni everywhere.
– Sept. 5 – Titans at Harrison Trimble at 7 p.m.
– Sept. 13 – Oromocto at Titans at 1 p.m.
– Sept. 20 – Mathieu Martin at Titans at noon
– Sept. 26 – Titans at Moncton at 8 p.m.
– Oct. 4 – McNaughton at Titans at 1 p.m.
– Oct. 11 – Titans at McNaughton at noon
– Oct. 17 – Titans at Fredericton at 7 p.m.