Midtown schools hit the gridiron

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIER GO LONG: Northern Red Knights starting quarterback Assad Hussain throws to his receiver during a September practice.

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIER GO LONG: Northern Red Knights starting quarterback Assad Hussain throws to his receiver during a September practice.

The arrival of another school year brings with it another year of football, and in midtown there are six schools representing three different leagues.

For the Toronto District School Board, Northern SS, Leaside HS and Lawrence Park CI will fight it out in the trenches in Tier 1. North Toronto CI looks to build momentum on an undefeated regular season in Tier 2 and get further into the playoffs, with an eye to dethroning Tier 2 champion Downsview Mustangs.

Lawrence Park kicks off the season at home against Downsview on Sept. 26. Leaside will play host to Central Tech while Northern is home to East York on Sept. 27.

When it comes to the independent schools, St. Michael’s College School, which won three Metro Bowls in a row between 2007 and 2009, will be battling it out with midtown and division rival Upper Canada College. UCC Blues were last year’s CISAA champs, and will have targets on their backs.

Forest Hill Collegiate will not be fielding a football team. Low turnout during registration forced the team to be disbanded.

Without further ado, here is the Town Crier‘s football preview.

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIERNO LOAFING THE BALL: Leaside running back Connor Pires runs through drills during Leaside’s practice in September.

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIERNO LOAFING THE BALL: Leaside running back Connor Pires runs through drills during Leaside’s practice in September.

Leaside Lancers

League: TDSB (Tier 1)

Coach: Jim Georgiadis

2013 Result: 3-2-1 record, lost 47-0 to Central Tech Blues in TDSB semifinals

Who to watch: Brentyn Hall (WR/DB), as well as the QB tandem of Aidan McFadden and Matthew Georgiadis

First 2014 game: Sept. 26 vs. Central Tech Blues

The buzz: “I think we’ve got some athletes on the team, for sure, and in some key positions. Offensively we should be able to score some points. The issue with us, because of the size of the school, is our size. We’re generally not that big of a team. It’s numbers really.” — Georgiadis

Northern Red Knights

League: TDSB (Tier 1)

Coach: Dan Dominico

2013 Result: 4-1 record, lost 34-14 to Richview Saints in TDSB semifinals

Who to watch: Coulter Woodmansey (OL), Assad Hussain (QB), Jaiden Hyland (RB), Isaiah Ashem-Hibbert (RB), Tramayne Stephen (DL) and Jerrom Ogenraut (LB)

First 2014 game: Sept. 27 vs. East York Goliaths

The buzz: “We’re talented this year, but we’re afflicted with the same disease a lot of senior teams are having in the city: our numbers are not the normal 50. We’ll be in the 35–40. That’s okay, but it’s not what it’s been in the past.” — Dominico

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIER INTRODUCING THE PLAYBOOK: North Toronto CI coach Shawn Hood talks to his charges during a September practice.

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIER
INTRODUCING THE PLAYBOOK: North Toronto CI coach Shawn Hood talks to his charges during a September practice.

North Toronto Norsemen

League: TDSB (Tier 2)

Coach: Shawn Hood

2013 Result: 6-0 record, lost 14-3 to Malvern Black Knights in TDSB Tier 2 semifinals

Who to watch: Justin Shin (SB/TB), Mitch Malinsky (RB) and Trevor Murakami.

The buzz: “We’ve got a lot of new blood here. We’ve had a lot of turnover the last two years and we’re definitely a newer, younger team this year. We’ve got a lot of guys that haven’t played football, so they decided to give it a go.” — Hood

Lawrence Park Panthers

League: TDSB (Tier 1)

Coach: Mark Harrison

2013 Result: 3-3 record, lost 17-7 to Leaside Lancers in TDSB quarter-finals

Who to watch: Luke Babin (LB), Jack Hopkins, Adam VanDeursen (S), Shomari Hutchinson (LB), Connor Labbett (SB), Cole MacFarlane (QB) and Jason Lee (OL/DL)

First 2014 game: Sept. 26 @ Downsview Mustangs

The buzz: “I think when we look at Tier 1 — and I probably sound like a broken record — [but] I’m pretty sure we’ll end up playing the Northerns, the Centrals, the Richviews and the Leasides, who are traditionally strong teams. Our goal is always to make the playoffs at Tier 1. Everybody wants to win the championship, but if you’re realistic that’s the minimum that we want to do.” — Harrison

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIERIN THE SLOT: Upper Canada College quarterback Aidan Power pulls back in the slot looking down field for an open receiver. The Blues first game of the season is Sept. 20.

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIERIN THE SLOT: Upper Canada College quarterback Aidan Power pulls back in the slot looking down field for an open receiver. The Blues first game of the season is Sept. 20.

Upper Canada College Blues

League: CISAA

Coach: David Shaw

2013 Result: 4-1 record, won CISAA title 30-25 vs. St. Andrew’s College; lost 41-7 to W.F. Herman Green Griffins at OFSAA

Who to watch: Philippe Archambault (LB/FB), L.C. Hebert (WR/DB), Jeff Misner (C/DT) and Aidan Power (QB)

First 2014 game: Sept. 20 @ St. Andrew’s College

The buzz: “It’s one of our strongest groups of Grade 11s coming up in years. We’ve got really good talent coming up from the junior program. This is the fastest team I’ve ever coached, bar none. Not the biggest, that’s for sure, but the fastest.” — Shaw

St. Michael’s Kerry Blues

League: CISAA

Coach: Frank Trentadue

2013 Result: 2-3 record, missed playoffs

Who to watch: Pierre Lemieux (LB), Gordon Whyte (LB), Liam Grippo (DB) and Kaion Grant (WR)

First 2014 game: Sept. 20 @ Trinity College School

The buzz: “We always look forward to the Grade 11 class coming up to Grade 12 to step in and make an impact. There’s a bit of a battle going on with the starting quarterbacks. Clarke McCallum was the starting quarterback for the junior team last year, and now he’s coming up to senior. But he’s battling it out with Daniel Pietrangelo, who already has a year of senior under his belt.” — Trentadue

 

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Toronto-based journalist, fighting the power one deadline at a time.

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