The quest starts Saturday when the ‘Canes host the UNB Fredericton Red Bombers in Holland College’s season and home-opener. Game time is noon at MacAdam Field in Charlottetown.
Holland College went 1-2 overall versus UNB last season, getting revenge for two regular season losses by a combined 42-21 margin with a 15-10 win in the semifinals to reach the final. There, the Dalhousie Tigers handed Holland College, the then defending champs, a 29-11 defeat.
So Ross Young, ‘Canes head coach, knows UNB won’t be an easy out versus the young Hurricanes.
“Fredericton brings a big O (offensive) line with a strong run game and deep receiving threats,” said Ross. “We will need game experience to test just our ability as while we are deeper this year at positions, and have strong leadership at quarterback, we are still very young so game preparedness is key and we can better evaluate where we are at once we have our first game reps for our new players.”
Ross said there several players on both sides of the ball key to the team’s success. So he’s counting on defensive leadership from DB Duncan Hill, linebackers Torriano Curtis and John Ross Young and linemen Brandon Wilson, AJ Fields and Joshua Feaster.
Offensively, Ross said he’ll draw on the strength and experience of the offensive line in Zach Davidson, Riley MacArthy, Riley Aiello, Kenzie Gertley-Gregan and Edward Tingley, the arm of quarterback Brady Crowe, the hands of rookie receivers Cole Brydges and Adam Shambemirdam alongside vets Thomas McKenzie and Allister Nicholson and the feet of Andre Goulbourne, Fernando Fuller and Dom Harris to move the ball.
“Our offence is deeper at every position this season. Our O-line is big, athletic and mobile. We had five QBs in camp and all are exciting to watch. Our backfield and receiving core has size and quickness and good hands,” Ross said. “Defensively we are big and quick off the line and our defensive secondary has strong veterans and rookies who are very mobile and hard hitting.”
And for Ross, the team will need all that and more for what he said is a tough four-team circuit.
“Overall the league looks very strong with each team having the ability to win on any given day. UNB Frederiction is a big, talented well-coached squad and will be a very tough matchup. (As will) Dalhousie (now) at the top of the food chain this season and a revitalized hard-nosed club out of Saint john.”