Top News

Sackville minor football spring training camp set to start

Local minor football players take part in last year’s spring camp under the watchful eye of past-president Tim Cormier.
Local minor football players take part in last year’s spring camp under the watchful eye of past-president Tim Cormier. - File image

New president takes reins of local association

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Football was introduced nearly 50 years ago when the Tantramar Titans entered the NBIAA League and for a few years paid the price, being totally hammered by teams like Moncton and Fredericton.

It took about eight years for the local school to reach the pinnacle by marching to three consecutive championships in the early ’80s.

And while it took some astute coaching, the primary contributor to the success was the Sackville Minor Football Association, which had its beginning in the mid ’70s when John MacNeil, Rev, Heber Kean, Reid Levesque and your columnist decided it was time for young men and women to learn the basics of the game before entering high school.

Since that time, many changes have taken place but it remains a fertile training ground for high school teams.

For the past several years, Tim and Stacy Cormier have kept the program viable and now a new man has taken over the helm, permitting Cormier to concentrate on coaching duties.

Kent Johnson, a former prominent Titan and minor coach for the past dozen years, is the new president and will be ably assisted by Tim, who stepped down from that role. Working on the executive are Isaac Cormier as coach and equipment manager, Scott O’Neal as trainer coordinator and Stacy Cormier as treasurer.

Johnson notes that Atom and Pee Wee teams have remained near or at the top of their divisions for the past 10 seasons. Several years ago, the bantam program was folded into the Titan system. This meant that players entering Grade 9 were already prepared to try out for the big unit. Normally, the Grade 9 players do not see a lot of action but attend all practices, learn the schemes, improve their stature and usually are prepared to step into a starting role by the time the reach Grade 11.

While the elimination of the bantam division, approved by all parties, may have resulted in the end of football for some, many went on to star for their school, resulting in ongoing success.

Each season usually brings out close to 70 young athletes. Training and instruction is offered for kids from Grade 1-8. Last season there were 18 playing at the pee wee level (grades 7-8), Atoms (grades 5-6) and 20 in Tim Bits (grades 3-4). Flag football is also provided for kids as young as Grade 1 where they begin to absorb the fundamentals.

Johnson says that even at this tender age the system in use is taught right up through the Mounties is begun so when they reach the next level they understand the terminology and schemes.

And football for the young athletes is not simply a two- or three-month affair. They are expected to remain fit and beginning on April 30 they will have an opportunity to become game ready when the annual spring camp is held on the Mount Allison campus.

For a few seasons, well known professional athletes from the CFL headed the camps. However, more recently it has been taken over by the Mount Allison coaches and older Mountie players, many of whom are not much older than those they are teaching, and Johnson says this has worked very well.

For three weeks the older players will work out from Monday to Thursday for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, the younger ones will have a two-week camp.

All of this will take place on the Mount Allison Alumni Field and parents and friends are encouraged to attend.

Recent Stories