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Former Titan superstar Aidan O'Neal set to weave magic with Mounties

Former football Titan superstar Aidan O’Neal is looking forward to donning the garnet and gold during the upcoming season as a member of the football Mounties. PHOTO SUBMITTED
Former football Titan superstar Aidan O’Neal is looking forward to donning the garnet and gold during the upcoming season as a member of the football Mounties. PHOTO SUBMITTED

SACKVILLE, N.B. – No Titan football player in the past 20 years has received as much recognition and recognition as Sackville native Aidan O’Neal.

The relatively small but solidly built young man has experienced an amazing three years as a member of the Titans, leading them to back-to back provincial championships. He not only overpowered the opposition with some amazing running from his tailback position but was an outstanding defensive back and one of the top punters in the province.

In recognition of these exploits O’Neal was named the most outstanding player in the conference.

Then he attended the Team Canada championships and was named the special teams most valuable player and a member of Canada’s U19 team that recently played the US team in Orlando for the North American championship. In that game he was called upon to return punts and kicks and had one beauty of 40 yards to attract attention.

And now the 5’8”, 175 pound all-around superstar will attempt to weave his magic with the Mounties. It normally takes a high school player at least a season to grab a starting position but there is reason to believe he has the skills to earn a number either as a returner or slotback. This would allow him to serve as a receiver with the option of carrying the ball when called upon.

The relatively small but solidly built young man has experienced an amazing three years as a member of the Titans, leading them to back-to back provincial championships. He not only overpowered the opposition with some amazing running from his tailback position but was an outstanding defensive back and one of the top punters in the province.

In recognition of these exploits O’Neal was named the most outstanding player in the conference.

Then he attended the Team Canada championships and was named the special teams most valuable player and a member of Canada’s U19 team that recently played the US team in Orlando for the North American championship. In that game he was called upon to return punts and kicks and had one beauty of 40 yards to attract attention.

And now the 5’8”, 175 pound all-around superstar will attempt to weave his magic with the Mounties. It normally takes a high school player at least a season to grab a starting position but there is reason to believe he has the skills to earn a number either as a returner or slotback. This would allow him to serve as a receiver with the option of carrying the ball when called upon.

Former football Titan Aidan O’Neal competed as a member of Canada’s U19 team that recently played the US team in Orlando, Florida, for the North American championship. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Because of his versatility Aidan was asked whether he would prefer defense or offense. He replied that he loved both sides of the ball and would be thrilled to have the opportunity to continue in the game at the university level.

He said he has been fortunate to play under some great coaches at Tantramar, including his dad Scott. But he said he learned a good deal more during his time in Orlando from some well known instructors.

He feels playing against the US team, many of whom will not only play at the NCAA level but go on to NFL careers, was a learning experience in itself. But he knows it will be tougher competition in the CIS as the players are all bigger, faster and quicker.

However, he feels any Titan player moving up to join the Mounties has an edge since coaches like Scott Brady and Gaetan Richard have contributed to their development. These coaches and others have worked the spring camps and often make helpful suggestions that the high school coaches adopt.

But Aidan will be just one of a half-dozen Titan alumni who will be linked up when the Mountie camp opens in mid-August. Ross McCormack earned a starting OL job in his second season and Dylan Cormier will be heard from this season – his second with the Mounties after showing plenty of talent in his rookie campaign.

Of course Michael Bohan will graduate shortly after an amazing five-year career at the university where he was named an All-Conference performer on at least one occasion. 

But O’Neal says the Mountie rookies from Sackville have been working out with their older comrades during the off season and have already developed relationships and that is one thing they won’t have to be concerned about.

On top of bringing a good deal of skill with them, the Titan grads also enter academia with strong credentials – Aidan, for instance, carries a solid average in the mid 80s as do many of the others.

The Titan superstar was asked which championship team - 2015 or 2016 was better. He said each had its strengths, pointing out that the offensive line in 2016 was absolutely outstanding. However, with the loss of stars like Dylan Cormier and quarterback Becker from the previous year it was necessary to do things differently. In essence, he declined to make a choice.

The O’Neal name is likely to be repeated often in the years ahead – he has two younger brothers coming along who are hoping to attain he same status as their older brother. And, of course, coach Scott O’Neal will be around to coax and cajole, hoping to develop more superstars.

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