#CFCHSFB PREVIEW (ONT – EAST): CFC#46 Knights reloading for bright future

The St. Peter’s Knights, a perennial Ottawa football powerhouse are entering into what Coach Jim Mick calls not a rebuilding year, but a reloading year.

The Knights are ranked 46th on the #CFC50, but Mick believes that is based more on the program than the team this year.

Mick believes the Knights will have the move the ball through the air rather than on the ground.

“I have my running back from last year and after that I only have one other kid who could be in the backfield, but he’s never played for us, so he’ll be green,” said Mick.  “We’re going to have to go with one back and spread.”

While the Knights are thin at running back, they have ample options at the quarterback position. Both quarterbacks from last season are returning, as well as the third stringer who despite a quarterback pedigree played as a wide receiver last year and will be doing the same this year.

An issue for the Knights will be protecting that stable of quarterbacks and getting to the passer as there are questions on both offensive and defensive line.

“Our line is very suspect, our problem is inside the box both o-line and front seven,” stated Mick.  “A lot of the guys are going to have to go both ways, which you can’t continue to do.”

A potential solution to this Mick and his coaching staff are looking at is using a sort of committee to do it which is he admits is not ideal, but they are working with what they have.

There is one player who is expected give the Knights guaranteed solid performances – defensive player Josh Earle who Mick believes will have no trouble moving onto university football somewhere next year

“He’s probably a half at university, but we’ll roll him up as a SAM because it’s high school, his head is I’m going to play in the secondary, but in a spread team a SAM plays a lot of coverage and he’ll make a lot of tackles,” stated Mick.  “I think we can be competitive but there are a lot of question marks, and not a lot of depth.”

St Peter Knights versus Nelson

As far as the Knights completion in the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association (NCSSAA) Division, there is only one other team that will be competing in the AAA level the St. Francis Xavier Coyotes.

“They have a lot of good players, they should be good, how they’ll hold it together I don’t know, I just know they do have athletes, I do not know how they’ll be as a team,” added Mick.

Mick said other teams in the OFSAA division but at the ‘AA’ level such as the St. Joseph Jaguars and St Michael’s may have some good athletes but doesn’t think they’ll be too strong and overall Mick doesn’t believe the Ottawa area will be a football hotbed.

While the upcoming season doesn’t look like it will be of the Knights’ better ones, Mick believes the future is looking bright with a lot of good young players on the team getting a chance to play thanks to a new system set up by the Ottawa area coaches.

“This year we are running two teams in one, we have a number of schools on board there will be a grade nine and 10 league on Tuesdays, so now instead of keeping a grade 10 kid for depth, he can be the back-up for the varsity but still get playing time,” said Mick.

The league is going to be what Mick called “unsanctioned” but with all of the players on the varsity roster they will all be insured.

Unfortunately, the Knights will be starting the season for the first time in team history without Mike Heney as a part of the coaching staff. Heney 63, passed away in his sleep on Monday Sept. 14 at his Ottawa home. Heney had been a teacher at the school since it started in 1992 and had been involved with the football team from its inception.

Both of Heney’s kids attended St. Peter’s and he was a constant presence at all school events, not just football games over the last 23 years.

“The school was kind of his life, he just loved being there, to him it wasn’t even really a job,” said Mick.

A senior level teacher in math, Heney had close contact with a lot of older players not only on the field but in the classroom.

“Our older guys all would have been most likely taught by him or seen him around or of course have been coached by him,” remarked Mick.

Heney’s wife told the team that all would want is for them to win a championship for him and Mick believes this will give the players something to remind them to stay focused when they run the risk of getting off track.

A wake was held on Monday Sept. 21st. Instead of flowers, donations are being accepted in order to create a graduate bursary award in Heney’s name.

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