The move to A-division football has both the junior and senior squads on new ground as EDSS starts the season. The coaches see plenty of work to be done.The junior boys kept Eastwood Collegiate off the board Sept. 28 on their way to a 25-0 victory over the Rebels. The senior Lancers were not as lucky, playing a gruelling back-and-forth game before finally succumbing to a 73-50 loss.
“We came out very strong,” said senior’s coach Steve Karn of the first quarter, after which Eastwood picked up the pace.
The day’s prospects seemed hopeful for the senior squad when Mitch Kernick, one of the season’s key players, snatched the ball and, avoiding a Rebel charge, made a beeline for the end zone, scoring a touchdown just minutes into the game.
EDSS would go on to make it 14-0 before the Rebels got on the board with a touchdown of their own before the half was over.
“Some guys were already getting tired in the second quarter – conditioning and things like that sometimes come into play. We just need to cut out the little mistakes and that seems to be haunting us. When were driving and driving and then we fumble or throw an interception or just give up a big play. We have to cut that out,” Karn said after the game.
During a postgame talk with the team, the coach emphasized the importance of commitment to the game. The team has been struggling with practice schedules, Karn explained. He believes this is part of the reason the team is not doing as well as they could be this season.
“We need guys with a little more commitment in the practice department. We do that and I think we can cut those mistakes out and be successful. It’s harder today because suddenly kids have jobs, they’re trying to save money for university and it’s sometimes harder to get the full commitment from everybody.”
Both senior and junior boys beat out most of the competition last year, coming in second at the end of the season just behind Eastwood Collegiate. That success saw the teams move up to the A-division, it turn attracting more interest from students.
“The tryouts [were] fantastic. We had close to 60 kids trying out. We’ve got about a quarter of the boys in the school trying out and it’s a pretty high participation rate,” said junior boys coach John Swatridge.
His team had a slow start in last week’s game, but defended their territory fiercely while gradually racking up points against the Rebels. Swatridge was happy with the efforts of his team but knows the completion this year will be neck and neck for the young players.
“From what we can tell there are only a couple of teams that are really dominant this year. Every game is going to be a pretty good battle. I don’t anticipate us holding everyone to zero but I do think that the team will get better. We’ve got a lot of Grade 9s so I think we’ll prove a lot between now and the end of the season.