#CFCFPC Game preview (Hamilton – Minor): Team West vs. Team Cleveland

As the first FOX40 Prospect Challenge tournament, a weekend demonstrating some of the best young football talent in the nation, edges closer, Team Cleveland and Team West Minor prepare to kick things off and go head-to-head on Friday, April 28 in Hamilton, Ont. at Tim Hortons Field, which opened as a new Canadian Football League field in 2014.

Team Cleveland will be the only team from outside of Canada competing in the competition this year. However, despite this and the fact that it is their first season playing together as a team, Director of Footbal,l Keith Nicholas, says that there will still be plenty to watch out for from the young American team, including their well decorated head coach.

“We are not in a league, this is our first year as a travel team, so as a team we don’t know what to really expect. We have only been practicing four times a month since January, if the weather permits us to. But Head Coach is Rick Wilcox from the East Cleveland PAL Youth Football Organization, he is a two time head coach for Pop Warner National Championship teams, with his last Championship being in 2016 in the 10 year old age division. He has been coaching youth football for over ten years,” Nicholas said.

Besides the coaching staff’s formidable record, Nicholas assured that the style of play Team Cleveland will bring to the table, as well as the individual skill of their players, will make for a great matchup.

“We run a spread wide open type of offense, with a combination of runs and passes. Keep an eye on Kyler Wiggins, a shifty guy who is dangerous in the open field and plays bigger than his size. Kai White is a speed runner with cat-quick moves to match. Then there is Jermaine Foster, who has a combination of speed and power, and Arvelle Reese (is) explosive. This team will go as far as the offensive line takes them,” Nicholas stated.

On top of the distance Team Cleveland will be traveling, they will also be managing to deal with a rule change, as they switch over from American Youth Football rules. But, according to the director, this won’t be a problem for the team, who asserted that offense is not the only area they might surprise in, as their defensive talents are more than ready for the action the weekend is going to provide.

“We play an aggressive, in your face, type of defense – these young men like to hit! Keep an eye on Hosea Steele, he’s a hard hitter who roams sideline to sideline. Davon Bradley (is also) a very aggressive hard nose player and (then) there is Carlione White who plays with a non-stop motor,” Nicholas said. “In the U.S. we would run a five or six man front with a combination of blitzes, but we are playing by Canadian Minor Youth Football rules, so we will have to play a four man front we are not used to, so it should be a lot of fun.”

On top of an obvious variety of talent spread across the roster, Nicholas believes that the team could still have an upper hand in the form of one of their diversely talented and especially gifted young men.

“The X-factor for the team could be Dominick Kirk. He plays offensive tackle and defensive tackle, giving him the ability to take over the game as a linesman,” Nicholas said.

He also explained that the objectives of the Cleveland squad coming into this tournament are straightforward, mainly aimed at making their players more exemplary competitors, while also teaching the young men important life lessons.

“Our team goal for 2017 is to become better football players. But most of all, our goal is to become model citizens athletically and educationally,” he added.



HEAD COACH: Rick Wilcox

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Kyler Wiggins (WR), Kai White (RB), Jermaine Foster (RB/QB), Arvelle Reese (RB), Zhavier Nurse (OL), Andrai Jones (OL), Matthew Gary (OL), Jayden Nicholas (OL), Daquan Johnson (OL), Carlione White (QB), Davon Bradley (TE), Hosea Steele (LB), Dominick Kirk (OT/DT)


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