For upcoming P.E.I. Tackle Football League season
SUMMERSIDE – There is a sense of optimism at the Summerside Clippers’ training camp.
The lone Prince County entry in the P.E.I. Tackle Football League is preparing for the upcoming season, which begins in Cornwall on Friday, Sept. 13. The Clippers’ home opener is at Eric Johnston Field against Charlottetown on Friday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m.
“We’re excited, the kids are excited,” said Clippers defensive co-ordinator Teejay Foley during Thursday night’s practice at Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside. “We have two weeks until our first away game, and three weeks to our home opener.”
Foley says the Clippers have 25 players in camp, and that is a perfect number for the 10-on-10 format.
As for his thoughts on this year’s camp, Foley commented: “It’s disappointing we lost a lot of our size from last year, but what we lost in size we picked up in speed. Our kids are extremely quick this year.”
Thus, the team’s speed is the one thing that has jumped out at Foley and the coaching staff.
“We had a little bit of a combine last Saturday, and a lot of the kids were running 40-yard dashes in 4.8, 4.9 (seconds),” added Foley. “Definitely, the wheels are there.”
After a couple of years of struggling on the field, the Clippers turned things around in 2012. The team finished the regular season a respectable 3-3 (won-lost), won the semifinal game and went up against defending champion Souris in the Potato Bowl championship game.
“Unfortunately, we lost the Potato Bowl by five points to Souris,” said Foley. “We will work on it, and work our way back.”
Foley also added the Clippers have benefited greatly from the Summerside Spartans’ bantam program, coached by John Turner.
“We’re excited, the kids are excited. We have two weeks until our first away game, and three weeks to our home opener.” Clippers defensive co-ordinator Teejay Foley
“The big benefit to us is John Turner’s team, the Spartans,” reiterated Foley. “That has definitely been helping us out numbers-wise, and I’m pretty happy with that.”
One change for fans this season, noted Foley, is the Clippers and Spartans will play home doubleheaders on Friday nights.
“All of our games are doubleheaders, with the Spartans playing at 6 ( p.m.) and the Clippers playing at 8 (p.m.),” explained Foley. “That’s pretty well the way it’s going to go in the league from now on. . .
“Even our away games are doubleheaders. When we have to travel to Souris, the Spartans will play and then we’ll play.”