The Huskers are looking to turn their fortunes around

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Churly

The Valley Huskers were one of the youngest teams across the entire CJFL in 2015 not winning a single game.  However now with a year of experience under their belt, the Huskers are looking to bounce back in 2016 and challenge for a playoff spot.  They have not been in the post season since 2008.

What’s Changing?

The biggest change for the Valley Huskers in 2016 is their head coach.  Out is Adam Smith after just two seasons and only one victory and in is Jason Quinter.  He has football in his blood with his dad involved in the CFL and NFL for 45 years.  Jason has been a coordinator and has run his own football camps, but this will be his first head coaching position.

The Huskers have also brought in some new coaches to assist Jason including Luke Acheson (offensive line), Teague Funk (receivers) and Tyler Garrah (special teams).

Graduating Players:

WR Cody Vinish: Perhaps the biggest hole that will need to be filled is receiver Cody Vinish who was a mainstay for the Huskers the last number of years.  In 2015 Vinish collected 29 receptions for 288 yards and a touchdown.    Over the course of his four years in a Huskers uniform he tallied 80 receptions 1,076 yards and five touchdowns.

DB Chad Wiebe: is another big loss for the Huskers defence.    This past season he collected 16 tackles and had two knockdowns and was a leader in the secondary.

DB Jordan Tabin: Wiebe isn’t the only defensive back the Huskers graduate this year as Jordan Tabin also played his last junior game.    With the loss of two veterans Quinter will have big shoes to fill.

OL Kyle LeBlanc:  The veteran made significant improvements in 2015, giving rookie quarterback Noah Falconer the time to attempt 315 passes, more than any other pivot in the CJFL last season.

What They Need:

Like most CJFL teams, the Huskers are concentrating their recruiting efforts on the offensive and defensive lines.  Last season quarterback Noah Falconer was sacked 19 times as he attempted a CJFL high 315 passes.  The Huskers are young in the trenches, especially after the departure of Bryan Robinson to the CIS.

Counting On:

On the offensive side the Huskers are looking for big things from a pair of major weapons.  Receiver Blake Draper has the tools to be one of the most dangerous receivers in the BCFC.  At 6’3, 220 pounds, not many defensive backs match up well with him.  Last season he caught a team high 43 passes for 487 yards and three touchdowns.

In the backfield the Huskers need Brendan Atkinson to carry a big load heading into his third season.  Last year he rushed just 16 times for 69 yards in the first two weeks of the season, then an injury slowed him down.  He’s a strong running back and is tough to bring down at 6’2 and 193 pounds.

Defensively linebacker Brenden Kohls will have to be an anchor.  Last season he collected 14 tackles, nine assisted stops, blocked a kick, had a knockdown and a pair of fumble recoveries.

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