CFC50 game PREVIEW (NB): Friday night’s rumble on the marsh

Riverview Royals vs. CFC50 Tantramar Titans

Friday, Oct. 6 @ 7:00pm, MTA


This Friday night, the 3-1 Riverview Royals travel to Sackville, New Brunswick, to face their long time rival the 4-0 TRHS Titans. NB football is ripe with bitter feuds and rivalrys dating back fifty plus years, but none as bitter as this one.

RHS’ student body is drawn mainly from Riverview, the small self reliant town a bridge, and stone throw away from Moncton, the provinces largest city.  TRHS draws students from the small town of Sackville and outlying rural and coastal communities, making this feud is one of country mouse vs. city mouse, with the intensity of the Hatfields and McCoy’s.

“Riverview always gave the impression they thought they were so much better than us, and that we’re just a bunch of dumb farmers,” reflects Titan’s head coach Scott O’Neal, who played for TRHS in the late 80’s. “I’ll bet, if you asked every single person who has played here since ’71, who their biggest rivalry is, the team they hate the most, they would say Riverview.”

Royals head coach, Guy Messervier, has been with the program for 12 years and also acknowledges the long standing issue between these clubs.

“These two teams really don’t like each other, to us it’s just another game, the only difference is it’s a little more physical than a regular game. There’s bad blood among players and coaches, it sort of transpires on the field.”

Both teams are built with athletes who have developed thru attached minor programs designed to produce strong varsity programs. Both Riverview and Sackville compete in the Greater Moncton Football League and because each are stand alone communities, their teams only have local kids, unlike the greater Moncton area where teams are randomly selected, providing both teams with steady crops of solid football players.

The other outcome of this, are two rosters of kids who have played together since grade school, against a team you have learned to hate between the whistles.

Rivalry aside, RHS needs to figure out a way to stop the Titan’s offence, and score on a defence that has only allowed 22 points in four games.

Titan’s sophomore QB #4 Justin Vogels

RHS LB Riley Kinear explained how they plan on keeping the Titan’s offence off the field and score board;

“We’re going to shut down their run, their consistent with pulling guards so we’re going to key on them. We’ve been working hard all week cracking down and hitting the sled.”

Tantramar is traditionally a run first, and often team, but coming into week 5 Titans QB Justin Vogels is 34/48 (70%),  5 TD passes and feels his arm is legitimate enough to burn defences once they adjust to stop the run.

“I’ve had a TD each game, so I think they will have to respect that”, shared the mature sophomore. “Last year we were more one dimensional, this year we’re trying to get a more balanced attack, because the toughest teams to stop are those who do everything well.”

Aware of the Titan’s more frequent passing attempts,  Royals coach Messervier is still focused on shutting down a trio of Titan’s runners, Oliver Longpre, Jared Prescott, and Jeff Laffort.

“We’re going to slow down their running game, they can pass somewhat but I don’ t think that will be the factor that will beat us. They’re going to get yards for sure, but they haven’t played a D like we have yet.”

To be fair, neither the Titan’s nor RHS were truly challenged until playing Moncton (RHS lost 17-14), a factor O’Neal is very aware of.

“They’re a good football team, they have a really good fast defence, I think it’s the best we’ll face this year. ”

One player the Titan’s are keying on is #55 Aidan Steves, a jack of all trades, the senior DL is also playing RT and is the teams long snapper. Steve’s has the potential to cause immediate damage to offences when not contained.

#55 Aidan Steve’s pressuring MHS QB Kogler

A definite contender for the leagues defensive MVP, Vogels is confident his line will be able to deal with his  Steves.

“55 can cause quite a bit of havoc if he gets in the backfield, we’re looking to get a body on him every play.”

Surrounded by a fierce front 7 and a battalion of LB’s and DB’s, Steve’s and company have been salivating since last years loss to derail the Titans relentless run attack.

“The whole team has been undefeated two years, we want to end the streak. We want to prove we’re still one of the top teams and we’re not going to get pushed around,” stated LB Kinnear with a matter of fact tone.

Offensively, the Royals are scheming around the Titan’s healthy stable of defenders, a week after they struggled at times to move the ball on MHS.

Coming off their second shut out in a row, the Titan’s defence is anchored by two street brawling thugs, Riley Tower and Ryan Cadman, who are backed up with the dynamic Zach Lyold, Lucas Cormier and a player others are calling the best defender in the province, Jack Estabrooks.

RHS QB Logan Grossman

Grossman, 45/57 (67%) and 5 TD’s,  is preparing for a rough game with growing admiration for a defence he and his RHS team mates have played against since minor league.

“I’ve been having battles against the Titans since I was little , they can all tackle and they all play to the whistle. Lucas Cormier has always been a super solid player, and they’re guys on the line are tough playing on both ends of the ball. They’re all really physical players on defence so we’re going to have to match the physicality on offence in order to compete.”

The Titan’s are proud to play a ‘smash mouth style’ of football, one some teams struggle to match, not just in the trenches, but all over the field, including their quarterbacks.

“Our style of football is, we’re coming after you with all we got if you can’t handle it we’re going to run over you,” shared  Vogels.

Coach Messervier admires and respects the Titan’s program and style of play. Aware he needs to fight fire with fire, Messervier is waiting to see how his team rises to the challenge of playing more physical than the Titans.

“They’ll try and outwork you every play, and they’re great at it. We have to bring some physicality, it’s hard to coach that, it has to be in you a little bit.”

Hoping to come out of the game 5-0 Coach O’Neal is acknowledging the real threat RHS poses. And coming off two wins where they outscored opponents 113-0, and is anxious to see how good his team actually is.

“It feels like we had two weeks off, I want to see how physical  we really are, did we get lucky against Leo Hayes and Moncton, or are we a pretty good football team?”

If you want to see fireworks for Thanksgiving weekend, Friday night is the place to be. Kickoff is at 7:00pm at Mount Allison Alumni Field.

RHS Royals defence stuffing a MHS 3rd down conversion





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