NSSAFFL Preview: Griffins, Eagles clash highlighted by Davidson’s force

Both the Auburn Drive Eagles and Horton Griffins have a lot to prove this evening.

These two teams will square off in a key Scotia Division battle at Burnside Turf.  Kickoff is 6:00pm.

“Our game Thursday night versus Horton High is extremely important for our growth and development as a football program,” commented Eagles Head Coach Chris Valardo.  “Horton is a very well coached, successful program with a lot of high quality athletes.”

As for the Griffins (2-1), the team is coming into this game after enjoying a bye week.  However, the team used the break to shore up some areas of their game knowing that the team would face a formidable opponent in the Eagles.

“Having the bye week has really helped us fix some of the fundamentals we saw break down in the first 3 weeks,” reflected Griffins Head Coach Alec Hyndman.  “We are both really fast teams with a young group and I believe we can both break open the big play at any point in the game.”

While Valardo is new to this rivalry, Hyndman is not.  Last season, the Eagles (1-2) defeated the Griffins is a closely contested game 26-23.  With the thoughts of battles past, the Griffins Head Coach knows what it will take for the Wolfville team to come out of tonight’s game with the victory.

“We are focused on slowing them down and being sharp on all three fronts this week,” said Hyndman.  “We know that if our guys execute our game plan then we can be successful versus Auburn this week, but it’s going to take a full team effort. “

Youth will be a key factor in this game for the Griffins.  Since there is a lack of veteran leadership on the team, the Griffins will depend on some key players to step up and deliver their best performances of the season.

Moreover, the team is looking forward to seeing how their pass game has improved as this was one area the team zoned in on during their bye week.

“With only five grade 12’s on the team we are looking more and more to the younger group to step up for us,” assessed Hyndman.  “ Gabe Morgan (grade 11), Luke Oulton(grade 10) and Duncan Hill(grade 11) are going to be keys to slowing their speed down on defense.”

“We need Cam Davidson to have another big game for us on offense and special teams. I feel that Jake Melanson is starting to ‘get it’ at quarterback, which will help reach our goal of being more balanced on O with the pass and run.  We have really spent a lot of time focused on the pass game and I am excited to see how far we have come with it this week.”

Cam Davidson 4

As for the Eagles, there is one player they will have on their radar this evening, Griffins standout Cameron Davidson. Being able to shut down the offensive dynamo will be crucial to the Eagles success tonight.

“Running Cameron Davidson is definitely a force to be reckoned with as he is a smart runner with great feet who follows his blockers well,” evaluated Valardo.  “He has been very tough to contain this year and has amassed a lot of yardage from scrimmage as well as returning kicks.”

“If we are going to have any chance in this game we are going to have to slow him down.”

While this may be his first year coaching the Eagles, Valardo is aware of what to expect from the opposition on the field. Ultimately, the team must be successful in executing their own offensive game execution plan for them to have success against the 2011 NSSAFFL Tier 1 finalists.

“On the lines Horton is a big and strong both inside and on the edge, controlling the line of scrimmage against them is going to be a huge challenge,” assessed the Eagles Head Coach.  “Defensively, Horton plays smart, disciplined football and is fundamentally very sound.”

“They play their positions well and hustle to the ball, we are going to have to execute our offence with speed and precision if we hope to move the ball on this team.”

The key players to watch for on the Eagles offense will be Kalem Beaver (last week scored touchdowns in victory against John Hugh Gillis Royals), Angus Fraser and Daniel Sule.

Defensively, the team will look for leadership from Dion Thomas-Hodges and Ty Borden.

No matter what the outcome is tonight, the Eagles come into this game striving to achieve key goals tonight and for the bulk of the NSSAFFL season.

“Overall our goal is to continue to get better every week,” said Valardo.  “We have a lot of quality athletes but we lack a lot of football experience so we hope to compete with Horton and give them a good game.”

“Our players and coaches have been working hard and we are seeing improvements in all three phases of our game.  We hope that Thursday we can battle hard with Horton and continue to improve.”

With teams battling for position in a tight Scotia Division, both teams know the importance that the outcome of this game could have in the big picture.  However, both teams are looking forward to a spirited battle at Burnside Turf.

“This should be a great game and I can’t wait to get on the field and mix it up speed versus speed,” commented Hyndman.

(twitter: http://twitter.com/vohra_ameeta)



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