2017 Cégep Preview (QC): Les Filons du Cégep de Thetford finding way in 2nd year of RSEQ Division 2 ball

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will be posting high school/Cégep team previews from June to September as part of our comprehensive season coverage. Canadafootballchat.com (CFC) has tapped into our network of coaches to produce high school team previews for the 2017 season. The #CFCteampreviews highlight top returning players, team strengths, and toughest opponents.

CFC also will bring you the national high school football rankings known as the #CFC50. Last year’s final rankings were the most controversial to date…and we heard about it. Whether you agree or disagree, we love hearing from you. For an explanation of how the rankings are computed, please scroll to the bottom of the page.

Les Filons du Cégep de Thetford (RSEQ Collégial Division 2)

Les Filons du Cégep de Thetford had their first taste of RSEQ Division 2 football last season. Now, a year older and wiser, the team is looking to challenge for spot in the playoffs after going 3-5 in their inaugural Division 2 season.

“We believe we will have a very competitive team,” Diego Ratelle, the team’s head coach, said. “We have depth at all positions, which was not the case in the past few years. We have a mature team filled with veterans and good leaders and, like everyone, our main goal is the win the championship.”

Les Filons have an interesting mix of nationalities on their team. Ratelle said half of the team comes from France. He added that it can be challenging mixing players from both France and Québec. So, the team embraces one key concept: family.

“This word represents our philosophy,” Ratelle said. “We make sure to provide a sense of belonging that goes beyond the field to our players. Our main goal is to play as a family where everyone is held accountable.”

Courtesy of http://www.cegepthetford.ca/

In lean times, family is one of the most important philosophies you can embrace. As last season progressed, the roster thinned out due to injuries. Ratelle said that the coaches noticed the team lacked size on the line of scrimmage. With the mounting injuries, he added that it was important for the team to control the line. This year, the team focused on recruiting bigger players to bolster the line.

“Key newcomers will help us win the battle in the trenches,” Ratelle said.

Not only will there be fresh faces, there will be many familiar ones too returning to Les Filons. The team will be entering with two mature quarterbacks, which makes for “a very interesting competition,” Ratelle said. Justin Côté is entering his third season with the team, while his counterpart, Laurent Gagné, is a sophomore.

“We will be looking to use both of them in different packages. Both have shown great things in camp and we look forward to using both of them in our offense,” Ratelle added.

Defensively, Ratelle noted that linebacker Mathieu Lambert is a cornerstone of the defense. He added that the team relies on a good group of veteran defensive backs returning from France, such as free safety Souleymane Karamoko and cornerback Edriss Jean-Alphonse. Both players are returning from the Football World Champions after winning gold with Team France.

When thinking about a key difference maker on the team, Ratelle said, “It’s always hard to pick one guy up from a bunch of great players, but Karamoko has really stood out at camp. We believe he can be a game changer for us on defense and on special teams.”

Defensive back Wesley Martheli, who was voted in as a top five MVP at the Top Prospects Challenge in Ohio, will also be heading back to Thetford.

Another gold medalist, offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron from Team Québec (Football Canada Cup) will be reuniting to Les Filons with his own shiny hardware. Ratelle said Bergeron was a team captain and that “we believe he will be a great leader for us.”

Samuel Roussin, a veteran receiver, and running back Dan Plante will be coming back from injuries. Roussin was sidelined throughout the offseason with an ankle injury. “We are expecting a lot from him,” Ratelle said.

Plante, “who hits his third season with a chip on his shoulder, has had a tremendous camp and will get most of the carries for us,” Ratelle added. Plante missed most of last season with a knee injury.

Other key returnees include linebacker Jaure Goké, defensive end Jordan Avissey, offensive linemen Antoine Lussiers and Mahamadou Traoré, and wide receiver Mikaël Lessard.

With each changing season, teams lose players as they continue on in their journey. Les Filons will be without defensive back Paul Véritas, quarterback Antoine Marcoux, running back Pierre Givanni Medgeber, and receivers Lucas Veluire and Ethienne Thalanga this upcoming season.

Courtesy of http://www.regionthetford.com

While the majority of the changes have happened in the dressing room, Les Filons have had their fair share of changes in the front office as well. Maxim Lépinay will be joining the team as the offensive coordinator. He played with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees before playing with the Ritterhude Badgers in Germany. Isaac Lauzon, who will be joining the team as an assistant offensive coordinator and positional coach, was recently released by the Montréal Alouettes.

“We are very pleased with the acquisition of two newcomers in our coaching staff,” Ratelle said. “We believe we have a good group of coaches that have played the game long enough to identify our strengths (as a team). With the addition of a full-time offensive coordinator, we want to put more time on scouting our opponents.”

Ratelle added that the team wants to start filming and producing an exact picture of what the coaches want in practice. “We, as a coaching staff, focus on matchups. Our job is to make sure we get our guys in position to make a play,” he said.

Indeed, the team will need to be in peak condition to challenge for the championship. Already in scouting mode, Ratelle said that Le Noir et Or du Valleyfield has been dominate these past few years. Along with Valleyfield, Ratelle added that Les Nordiques du Lionel-Groulx will be the team to beat this year.

Les Filons du Cégep de Thetford (RSEQ Collégial Division 2)
Head Coach: Diego Ratelle
2016 Record: 3-5
Key Returnees: LB Mathieu Lambert, LB Jaure Goké, DB Souleymane Karamoko, DB Edriss Jean-Alphonse, DB Wesley Matheli, DE Jordan Avissey, OL Antoine Lussiers, OL Mahamadou Traoré, WR, Samuel Roussin (WR), Mikaël Lessard, RB Dan Plante
Key Losses: DB Paul Véritas, QB Antoine Marcoux, RB, Pierre Giovanni Medgeber, REC Lucas Veluire, REC Ethienne Thalanga
“X” Factor: DB Souleymane Karamoko



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How is the #CFC50 evaluated?

The #CFC50 rankings considers all conference and non-conference games (in Canada and the United States) while scrimmages are not evaluated (there is no such thing as an exhibition game – those are non-conference games).

Leagues included in rankings: British Columbia AAA Varsity, Alberta Tier One, Saskatchewan 12-man 4A, Manitoba AAA Varsity, Ontario OFSAA Bowl AAA qualified teams, Quebec Juvenile Division 1, New Brunswick 12-man, Nova Scotia Tier 1.

The #CFC50 is a relative ranking that considers top tier leagues from all eight high school playing provinces (minimum one team represented from each province).  The CFC Scouting Bureau consists of CFC Reporters, CFC Scouts, and also selected local reporters and scouts who submit local ranking results on a weekly basis.  This is the eighth year that Canadafootballchat.com has ranked the top high school teams in Canada.

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