Evan Phinney and Terence Carter, along with running back coach Kent Johnson, were among those selected this summer for the U15 Elite New Brunswick provincial football team, a team that brought home the Spalding Cup banner after a weeklong tournament in Quebec.
“I have help coached these two boys for the last six years in the Sackville Minor Football Association and it was an experience where we learned so much that we will cherish and remember the memories for a lifetime,” said Johnson.
Johnson said Phinney was chosen as one of the captains for Team NB and was also selected as an MVP for defense during the tournament, while Carter “made a terrific difference in all of the games.”
Traveling by bus to Montreal, the team stayed at Concordia University for the 10-day stay, with their first game on July 8 at the Stade Hebert against a strong Montreal team. They were defeated 48-8 but Johnson said the crowd was amazing, the music was loud and the crowd loved and was hungry for their football.
“We took the loss as a learning experience and it fuelled our fire,” he said.
The next game on July 11 was against ERSQ, where the team started to “click.”
“We came out strong and united as a family and believed in ourselves and won our first game,” said Johnson, who noted the score was 42-0. “We amazed ourselves and broke many records in that game and become the top rushing offense team among seven other competitors in the Spalding Cup.”
Their next game would be against a very powerful, fast, experienced team, said Johnson, so “we needed to come together even tighter and do our best.”
On July 15, he said the crowd was loud with thousands of spectators there to watch some great football for their final game against LLL. It was a battle, he said, with the teams going back to the locker rooms at halftime with the score at 0-0.
“Then, with persistence and determination, we scored two touchdowns but LLL was not giving up. They came back and scored four more points. Now it was 4-14, then they scored again making it 11-14. Then, with a strong defence, we intercepted and ran for a touchdown now making it 11-20 for NB. He said LLL brought out their bigger players and scored along with a field goal, making it 18-20.
In the last quarter, Team NB was able to stop the LLL’s attempts on scoring.
“It was exciting and a lot of emotions of joy were brought to the surface as we, 506 New Brunswick, for the first time made history and won first place in the 2017 U15 Spalding Cup Division B.”
The trip also included an opportunity for the team to play a short exhibition game at halftime during a CFL game of the Montreal Alouettes vs Calgary Stampeders at McGill University.
“It was amazing,” said Johnson. “In front of roughly 30,000 spectators, we had a fun 10-minute exhibition game which we controlled in defence and offence but no scoring took place.”