SACKVILLE, N.B. – It became obvious last Thursday evening that the sporting fraternity has reached a peak in Sackville with parents, coaches and fans working together to produce one success story after another.
The 13th annual Sackville Sport Recognition Night brought out a huge crowd of supporters – the largest number ever – and they were treated to another outstanding performance put on by the board of directors of the Sackville Sports Wall of Fame and the Town of Sackville.
Those in attendance were impressed by the manner in which the young athletes handled themselves, indicating the way in which parents and coaches have positively influenced them. Each was grateful for the opportunity to be singled out for recognition and, for the most part, all came appropriately for the auspicious occasion.
And for those who may have harboured any doubts about the future of the Titan football program they must have been reassured when the Atom Titans paraded to the stage to accept their certificates. The Isaac Cormier led squad of youngsters romped to victory in each of their five contests in the Moncton League and outscored the opposition 192-49 to add an exclamation mark to their accomplishments.
The discipline they had absorbed from their coaches - seven in all – shone through as they gave team cheers and exhibited controlled enthusiasm.
It was the size of these young men that must have caught the attention of Titan coach Scott O’Neal as he may be looking for big linemen in the future.
And it became obvious that even at the atom ranks, the boys have one goal in mind – to play with the high school team as they mature.
While it was football that dominated the evening, other sports, including basketball, soccer, swimming and running also were recognized, further evidence of how diverse the students at Tantramar have become.
Championships like never before came this way during the past 12 months and one that stood out was the Titan girls’ soccer team that went all the way to the provincial championship, the first time since 1996. This marked their fourth consecutive appearance in the final four and first gold in 21 years. The team was guided by coach Nev Garrity and manager Steve Ridlington with Chris Milner as assistant coach.
The team is graduating several key performers, but Garrity will have a strong core of returnees and expects to seriously defend the title.
The Sackville Swim Club members were recognized for outstanding work, including Oliver Priemer, Zoe Cober, Maeve Cockshutt and Luther Edson, who all posted wins in major meets. Of course, Nolan Dobbin continued to be a shining light as he continued to reel off top place finishes with the Canada Games Trials and summer championships as well as in the Special Olympics.
The U-14 boys basketball team bounced to a provincial bronze medal, further indication that they will be a feeder system for the Titan program.
Individually, Ashley Sherwood was selected to play in the Double A Northeast girls all-star game in Saint John and received player-of-the-year honours in basketball. She was also selected to play for Team New Brunswick U21 women’s softball team in the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. Katie Hess was also selected to play in the all-star game in Saint John.
Oliver Priemer, an up-and-coming national level runner, achieved a silver medal in the Atlantic Cross Country Championships in Moncton in November.
Back to football. Terernce Carter was chosen as one of 40 players who represented NB in the 2017 Canadian U15 National Spalding Cup Division B Championships in Montreal. Kent Johnson was also chosen as one of the team coaches.
So what more can be added to the journey of the Tantramar Titans football team? They have accomplished success beyond the wildest dreams of all except coach O’Neal who knew all along what a jewel he had in the making.
Among special accomplishments was having four players and a coach chosen to travel to Dallas to represent Canada at the international Bowl. One player, Evan Phinney, was chosen and named captain and defensive MVP, while four players represented U16 Team NB with Oliver Longpre named offensive MVP and Owen O’Neal the defensive MVP.
The honours just continued with 11 Titans named to the high school league all-star team, winning various MVP honours and five players representing U18 Team NB.
There could have been even more local athletes recognized but, again, it is the responsibility of friends, relatives and fans to ensure the names are submitted to Deanna Cadman at town hall. However, the evening was an overwhelming success, with four councillors on hand to assist Ridlington in handing out the certificates of recognition.
In welcoming the athletes and fans, deputy mayor Ron Aiken says such success speaks to the dedication of coaches and others in the community in providing ideal leadership.