LaSalle’s Hesman back on national stage

Last summer, LaSalle’s Gideon Hesman broke tradition by being the only player on Ontario West’s under-17 football team that wasn’t playing in a summer league.

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A year later he’s back with the under-18’s for the Football Canada Cup in in Halifax July 10-18 and this time he hopes his breaks are all good ones.

“It was disappointing because I got hurt and didn’t play the last couple games of the tournament,” said Hesman, who broke his collarbone early and played another 21/2 games before it was detected.

“I’ve been a bit injury prone. I’m just hoping to stay healthy.”

In addition to his collarbone and a concussion last summer, Hesman also broke a wrist in February and strained his ACL in November.

“Playing injured so much wasn’t comfortable,” Hesman said. “I wouldn’t recommend it.

“I’ve got a clean bill of health and I’m really excited to play. I don’t worry about getting hurt.

“That’s part of football and you have to play as hard as you can. If you can’t do that (not worry), you don’t want to do this.”

When he’s been in the line-up, the five-foot-11, 190-pound Hesman has been a difference maker.

With the Sandwich Sabres, Hesman has played every position, but QB and nose tackle. However, with the Ontario team he’s settled in at safety with the occasional appearance at outside linebacker.

“In high school, you have to play all over when you’re trying to fill holes,” said Hesman, the only Windsor-area player on this year’s team.

“With the Ontario team, there’s all kinds of talent. You get assigned a position.”

Hesman, who was the defensive captain for Ontario West last year, expects that position to be safety. It’s one he feels best suits him.

“For a guy my size playing on the defensive line was crazy, but fun,” Hesman said. “I enjoyed learning the game in the trenches.

“I think I’m a better player because of it. Moving to safety with Team Ontario got me out of my comfort zone.

“I like it a lot better. I see the entire field in front of me and how the game is flowing.

“I like being the last guy back.”

After a disappointing fifth-place finish last year at the tournament, Hesman is confident Ontario West will put in better showing this year.

The other teams at the tournament are British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario East.

For one, the talent pool from which the team was selected was a lot deeper this year.

“I think word is getting out more about the team,” Hesman said. “Last year, there weren’t that many offensive lineman that came out. This year there were 30 guys that tried out.

“We have a new running back as well. He’s just a very large man.

“I think we’ll do well. A lot of our better players are back.”

Hesman also feels his own game is better. He’s more comfortable with his position on the team and sees the Canada Cup as the first step in an important year in his efforts to land a scholarship to an NCAA school.

In addition to trying to improve his stock with U.S. schools, Hesman had another reason to come back for one more year at Sandwich.

“Academically, I felt it was important not so much to upgrade my marks, but to pick up a couple of math and science courses,” said Hesman, who has attracted some interest from several schools.

“I want to keep my options open for what I want to study at college. I’m only 17, so another year gives me a chance to get bigger and stronger too.

“Also, my younger brother will be at Sandwich this year. I wanted to have a chance to play football with both my brothers.” or 519-5784
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