Hackney takes over as quarterback of club team
It’s a new look Holland College Hurricanes football team that hits the gridiron Saturday to open the 2013 Atlantic Football League season Saturday against the UNBSJ Seawolves.
Game time is 4 p.m. in Saint John, N.B., and those not there are quarterback Nick Hunsley, middle linebacker Andrew Oake and wide receiver Robbie Tufts.
That group helped Holland College reach back-to-back championship games and win the league title in 2011, but have moved on.
In their place are first-year QB Christian Hackney, defensive tackle Nicholas Parish, fullback Dan Gallant from Stratford, kicker Jay Dearborn and wide receiver and special teamer Eugene McMinns.
“We lost some key guys, but the group we have now are very exciting,” said coach Mark MacDougall, who also serves as defensive co-ordinator. “My goal as coach is to ensure our last two games are our best two games. Once the players learn the system, everything should take care of itself. It’s important to keep the schemes simple and easy to understand, otherwise you’ll lose the players, and the games.”
But the ‘Canes aren’t without returning talent and know how to score.
“Our scheme is spread offence, very fast, no huddle, with lots of power running,” said Owen MacWilliams, an offensive lineman from Summerside.
And on defence, Holland College returns cornerback Garvin Cius and a host of solid defensive backs.
“If the coverages are nice and tight, that keeps the ball in the quarterback’s hands and allows our defence to get sacks and cause some turnovers,” said Cius. “Everybody is fired up. We made it to the big game last year, but we weren’t able to finish.
“Everyone’s willing to win and we’re taking the necessary steps toward that championship.”
The AFL also has teams at UNB Fredericton and Dalhousie University. Fredericton is the defending champ.
Teams play six regular season contests. Semifinals begin Saturday, Oct. 26 with the final on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Holland College opens at home versus Fredericton Sunday, Sept. 22. Game time is 1 p.m. at MacAdam Field.
Online at www.facebook.com/HCFootball.