Sackville's men's hockey Titans fall one goal shy of provincial title
SACKVILLE, N.B. – The Tantramar Titans finished off a fantastic season this weekend, coming one goal shy of the provincial championship.
Isaac Humber (#63) is shown in action during the 2016 football Titans season. CRAIG FARRISH PHOTOGRAPHY
SACKVILLE, N.B. – He’s been playing football for the past 12 years and has been described as the most talented and skilled lineman to come out of Tantramar In recent memory.
And Isaac Humber is now preparing to compete for a spot with the Mount Allison Mounties this fall when they open training camp on Aug. 11 on Alumni Field.
I was always larger than most of my peers and naturally gravitated to the line, playing on both sides of the ball.
But he is a realist as well and knows it will take a tremendous effort to find a spot on the offensive line since the Mounties are loaded with experienced 300- pounders that provide the team with the largest unit in the Atlantic Universities Football Conference (AUFC).
However, he has had the benefit of outstanding coaches with the Titans as well as some solid advice from Mountie offensive coordinator Gaetan Richard, which should give him a leg up on other rookies vying for a position.
“It definitely gives Titan players an edge,” says the 270-pounder, who was a key force in leading the Titans to back-to-back New Brunswick High School Football League championships.
Isaac was born in Kingston, Ont., but moved with his family to nearby Amherst in 2013. He played in the Amherst minor systems with the Wolfpack for a couple of years and then joined a few others to complete the secondary education in Sackville and help the Titans to a 19-game winning streak.
Actually, Isaac began the game of football back in Kingston in Grade 1 in the Ontario Provincial Police program and worked his way up to the bantam level before heading east and capping of winning performances before reaching the age of 18.
“I was always larger than most of my peers,” he said, “and naturally gravitated to the line, playing on both sides of the ball. I continued in Amherst and since they had no high school football team came over here along with Zach Cormier.”
And Titan coach Scott O’Neal welcomed him with open arms as he completed an offensive line that was second to none in the entire province, dominating the opposition, which resulted in an awesome running game that also offered plenty of protection for the quarterbacks. Dylan Estabrooks is joining Humber on the Mounties while Cormier is heading to Acadia.
The Amherst contingent commuted each day to and from Tantramar much like a number of other athletes who have chosen that route and who have helped enhance the school’s athletic programs.
Isaac believes the coaching he has received here is superior to what he might have received elsewhere and feels the contribution of the Mount Allison coaches added a good deal. But he credits head coach Scott O’Neal with bringing him along in his development.
He says the valuable lessons he learned with the Titans will prove beneficial in making the transition to the next level.
Several universities attempted to lure the Titan star and he made the usual tour but says he knew Mount Allison was the place for him after one visit due to a number of factors, not the least being the warm manner in which he was treated by the entire campus.
Asked to compare the Titan teams of 2015 and 2016 he said they were almost identical.
“We lost a few keys from our first championship lineup but others stepped up and filled the voids, doing what was necessary to continue the journey. Our line was stronger and we had the top running back in the country.”
Isaac has a couple of other highlights to add to his resume – he played for Team Nova Scotia in 2015 and came across the border to easily make the 2016 New Brunswick team that won its first game in national competition with a win over Manitoba.
Like the other recruits – Aidan O’Neal, Aaron Rose and Dylan Estabrooks – Isaac is regularly working out with the Mountie team, especially in the weight room under the guidance of coach Richard.
He says he is excited to be playing under line coach Terry Tait and feels his footwork and other techniques will quickly improve. But he doesn’t feel adding another 30-40 pounds would serve any purpose, thinking that he might sacrifice some quickness in the process.
So the Mountie lineup will have no fewer than six Titan grads this season. This camaraderie along with the fact the local boys have been working with the veterans all off-season should remove any sense of nervousness when the close to 100 athletes convene on Aug. 11.
Just expect the local boys to enjoy a growing hometown cheering section that must be a positive as they continue their football careers and post secondary education.