QB Sam Phillips battling for Leo Hayes Lions starting spot

Sam Phillips (8)

Since the age of seven, Sam Philips has played quarterback for the Lions program, based out Fredericton’s North end. Entering the eleventh grade means Phillips is moving to senior varsity the clubs highest level of competition

On the hunt for a new QB, the Lions felt confident that Phillips could step into the vacancy left by Hunter Sturgeon. Phillips was, and is confident he can lead an offense that passed for 1600 yards in 2016, but is in the process of earning that right.

In the off season, Phillips and the Lions learned of their acquisition of Jonah Rawlines, the QB for the rival Fredericton HS Black Cats. After leading his team to the JV provincial championship, Rawlines wanted an opportunity to win another ring, but felt his best chance to do so would be to play for the Lions. To make this happen, Rawlines and his family moved to Leo Hayes’ district, and with this move came a QB competition.

“It wasn’t discouraging, it gave me motivation knowing he was coming over. He is good, we’re both good and have similar strengths and weaknesses; it’s going to be a good competition,” said the young pivot.

Phillips realizes with the jump to senior varsity comes higher expectations and facing some fierce opponents. At the end of his 2016 campaign, Phillips felt he was undersized at 5’7 and 120 pounds, but with a growth spurt is entering camp at six feet and thirty pounds heavier.

Just sixteen in June, Phillips feels he will grow more and is using the weight room to ‘thicken’ up. Along with his strength training Phillips spent the off season also focused on improving his speed and foot work. Hoping to develop his arm strength the sophomore began connecting with teammates willing to run routes and catch passes.

These sessions have given Phillips the opportunity to pass the ball to some of the teams senior WR’s, including Scott Parry and Matt LeFleur. Aside from keeping his arm loose, Phillips has found these extra reps helpful in developing chemistry with his receivers.

“I have to be sharp and know what the other team is doing, and I have to know what my guys are thinking so we can have that connection that if he see’s a hole, he knows I’m going right there,” he explained.

Already an experienced passer, Phillips finished his 2016 season with 24 passing TD’s, and 7 interceptions, a number he wants to reduce.

“I’m more of a pocket passer, but I have the athleticism to get out of the pocket and be dangerous, I need to improve my deep ball accuracy, but I’m really accurate from twenty to thirty.”

Phillips ability to scramble is something defences have to account for. Running in 4 TD’s last year, Phillips is mature when it comes to carrying the ball.

“With my awareness and athleticism I can make the most of a play and always expand it, but as the QB I have to make the right decisions, if it’s first and ten and you don’t need to take a hit then I’d bounce out, but if it’s third and five, then I’m going for it and taking the hit,” he said.

Should Phillips not win the starting spot, he feels he could help his team playing WR or among the defensive secondary. Not sure of what he wants to study once his high school career comes to an end, Phillips is certain he wants to continue playing. Hoping to stay close to home he would consider any of the AUS programs, including new addition Bishops.

September 8th will officially determine if Phillips won the starting job when the Lions play the team they lost the final to – the Tantramar Titans. A junior at the time, Phillips didn’t play in frozen finale, but hopes he has the opportunity to take a shot at the champs from behind centre.


Sam Phillips (8)
6’0, 150lbs

Team: Leo Hayes Lions
Unofficial Visits: none
Official Visits: none
Consideration: St. Mary’s, Acadia, St. Fx, Mount Allison, Bishops, open
Class: 2018

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