SACKVILLE, N.B. – Lucas Cormier may be merely 17-years of age but he has a football regime that would fill a book and it was just topped off last week as he played a role in helping Canada’s U18 team defeat their counterparts from the U.S. in an international game played in Arlington, Texas.
“It felt just awesome to stand out there at the end of the game and savour such a victory,” the versatile member of the three time New Brunswick High School football champion Tantramar Titans said on his return.
But he says it was a little different feeling than he has enjoyed three times with the Titans since he was playing beside many athletes he had never met before.
“It was fantastic to finally realize how many great players we have in Canada and the excitement of winning there was wonderful it was just a little different than experienced when we capture the high school title here in New Brunswick – different, but perhaps just as thrilling.
This was the fourth time in the past five years that the Canada U18 team has been victorious and Cormier says he believes the difference is in toughness.
“Canadian teams have always shown more toughness and greater desire than the Americans. We played with a similar physical and mental toughness as we show with the Titans.”
– Lucas Cormier
Cormier was accompanied by Titans Oliver Longpre and Owen O’Neal, both with the U16 Canadian team, as far as Montreal where they were joined by others to fly directly to Arlington where practices and games took place.
He said he was treated super well and got to hang out with some young men he knew and even was able to have dinner one evening with Titan coach Scott O’Neal, who was coaching the U16 group.
Long time Titan coach David Burns, who recently retired, has described Sackville much like “a little Texas town” because of it having taken on a football mentality. And Cormier, much more mature than his years, could not agree more after having the opportunity to spend a week in the huge state.
One question he could not answer is why the Canadian U18 teams usually hold the upper hand while the U19’s are usually dominated by the Americans.
Like many other young men, Lucas has chosen to play football year-round and will soon be joining team New Brunswick under coach Chris Hopkins. This will mark his third season with the team and he says it is another reason the Titans play the type of football they do – plenty of on-field time and strong coaching.
Lucas looks forward to 2019 when he hopes to join the Mounties and team up with his older brother Dylan who has matured into a tough and effective linebacker and strong special teams player at the university.
Dylan says he can barely wait as he would love nothing more than to have his “little brother” at his side.
With his vast experience as a Titan, member of both Team N.B. and Team Canada and with his honed skills as both a defensive specialist and sure handed receiver there appears to be no limit as to how far he might rise.
In Arlington Lucas was a designated safety and special teams player and was in on several tackles but never had the opportunity to show his skills on offense.
The Titans gained nation-wide recognition last season not only for their championship play but for the number of injuries other teams sustained when playing the Sackville school.
“It was frustrating to see that happen,” Lucas told your columnist. “We were playing well within the rules but we play tough on every rep, just as any well coached team should do.”
While some opponents went down, not one single Titan missed one game due to injuries.
“I guess”, he says, “that we are in such good condition that we can play through minor bumps and bruises while some opposing players do not have such a mentality.”
He believes the local high school team will continue to play tough and will continue to remain competitive due to a number of factors. He believes the coaching staff is the best to be found, while the heralded local minor football association, headed by his father Tim Cormier and featuring some outstanding coaches, continues to develop young men so when they hit Grade 9 they are ready to start a one- or two-year process to become team leaders.
And so, the Titans continue to export young men to represent the province and the nation – this year there were four players and a coach in Texas and no doubt more than a dozen will haunt the New Brunswick teams.
Truly, in the words of David Burns, Sackville has taken on the aura of a little Texas town.