Justin (JV) Vogels grew up in the shadows of MacAuley Field – now Alumni Field – and always dreamed of someday donning the garnet and gold and playing for his beloved Mount Allison Mounties.
Well, that day arrived recently when Mountie recruiters arrived at his door and the deal was sealed.
“I had really always planned to work toward a degree in commerce at Mount A,” he said recently, and now he is looking forward to working hard to earn the confidence of Mountie coach Peter Fraser.
While JV enters university with impeccable credentials, he realizes there is a huge difference between high school and university football and is looking forward to following a learning curve.
The Mounties recently signed 22-year-old quarterback Julian Wytinck, who will have two years of playing eligibility, no doubt as the team’s No. 1 signal caller.
“I would hope to work with Wytinck and absorb a good deal of knowledge,” Vogels says. “And with new offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Kyle Graves there should be plenty of opportunity to absorb a good deal.”
He would hope to believe that he could be game ready by his third season and become the signal caller. But he realizes he faces a height handicap, being just five-feet-nine inches.
However, this has had little impact on his rise to become arguably the best high school quarterback in the province. He has played two seasons as QB for Team New Brunswick, leading them to victory over Nova Scotia last season in the Canada Cup.
JV has been with the Titans for their last three victories, sharing the load with Jeff Lafford during his rookie campaign, but literally taking every rep since that time.
Coach Scott O’Neal says Vogels has a special talent for reading defenses, which has catapulted him to the top. As a matter of fact he was named the league all-star quarterback last season, outperforming all others in the seven-team circuit.
It’s generally agreed he honed his rifle-like arm as a baseball pitcher in the local minor system and showed this skill both for Team N.B. and the Titans time and again by completing the bomb.
But this young man is definitely a multi-sport specialist. Not only has he served on a trio of provincial football championship teams but was a key figure in helping the hockey Titans to the provincial AA title last spring. And this season he serves as captain on the hockey team as it prepares to defend its title.
So moving across town has certain advantages for this young man. The Titans utilize a downsized version of the Mountie playbook so it will require a bit of an upgrade rather than starting anew.
And then he should feel comfortable with so many former Titans dotting the Mountie roster. He will join the likes of Ross McCormack, Dylan Estabrooks, Lucas Cormier, Dylan Cormier, Jack Estabrooks, Aidan O’Neal and Aaron Rose, several of whom start each game. So at least he should feel comfortable surrounded by former teammates.
And while he will be gone, JV envisions the Titans collecting their fifth title in five years with a highly talented group of athletes returning, featuring a huge line, some great receivers, and Oliver Longpre, the young man who simply outruns the pack.