At the first game of the season, Elmira District Secondary School’s senior football team was already drawing out the university scouts.
“We have kind of had a pipeline,” said coach Steve Karn. “They try and make it to most of the games. They know there is a lot of talent in this loop, and they are always trying to improve. It is positive. We love it.”
Who has caught the eye of school’s across the province? None other than EDSS’s Nicholas Loughran and Jacob Fulcher.
Loughran has been playing football for about four years, since starting in Grade 9 with the Predators of Waterloo Region Football (formerly Twin Cities Football).
The 17-year-old overcame his fear of the sport and began his journey.
“I always thought that it looked fun and I had never played it before. I have always been a big football fan, but I just kind of was scared to play at first, but once I got into high school I was like, ‘this is really fun’ and I wanted to do it,” he said.
The 6’4”, 290-pound offensive tackle is currently being pursued by the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto.
Although Loughran hasn’t played football in a high school league before transferring from Forest Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener just this year, his time with the Predators was enough to catch the eye of scouts, and the praise of coach Karn.
“Nick is fresh to us. This is our first year with him because he is a transfer from Forest Heights, who didn’t even have football. He has only played football through the Predators,” he said. “It is a nice surprise to have him.”
As for Fulcher, Karn is happy to have him return for a fifth year after performing all the way through the EDSS football program, in addition to playing for the Predators.
The 18-year-old didn’t allow being cut from the Park Manor football team in elementary school, for being “too slow,” deter him from trying out in high school, where the now 6’5”, 265lb player is being actively pursued by the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Toronto and McMaster University.
“It was just something that I always wanted to do,” explained Fulcher. “It is a sport that really suits me for my size. It’s a lot of strategy, so it is the game that I like and it is what I am good at. I didn’t think that I would have any coaches that would talk to me but then they showed up and I have to take the opportunity.”
The offensive tackle is a well-rounded player, showing his versatility and strength by also performing as a defensive end.
Karn has seen many talented players come out of the program he started at EDSS just 12 years ago, and says these two are on their way to finding the same success. Although it is exciting to have talent like Fulcher and Loughran on his team, Karn says with the calibre of players they have these two boys are just the beginning – he has a great roster of guys out this year.
“They are so easy to coach, they are good kids. But that is the good thing about Elmira – all of them are good,” he said. “But there is about two or three more definitely that I will tell you right now and they are smart too, so they will be highly sought after.”
Looking to the future, Fulcher says his goal is to find a way to stay in the sport.
“If it’s in some sort of organizational role, in coaching or something within the sport would be nice, it has brought me a lot of opportunities and I would like to stay with it,” he said.
Loughran echoes Fulcher’s take.
“Hopefully, it seems more interesting to me than doing anything else. I really enjoy playing football,” he said.