Host Charlottetown Privateers at Eric Johnston Field
SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Clippers begin a season of high expectations in the P.E.I. Tackle Football League regular season in familiar territory on Friday night.
The Clippers will host the Charlottetown Privateers at Eric Johnston Field, with game time scheduled for 8 p.m. The game will immediately follow the P.E.I. Bantam Tackle Football League contest between the Privateers and Summerside Waterwise Spartans at 6 p.m.
“I’m not sure we are where we want to be, but it is still early in the season,” said Clippers head coach Marc Reid during a practice earlier this week. “Obviously, we know what this week and next week brings. We have Charlottetown here this week and Souris here next week.
“We have lots of plays to put in and improve on our offence, defence and special teams.”
The Clippers, after struggling for a few seasons, bounced back in 2012 by posting a .500 record of 3-3 (won-lost) in the regular season. The Clippers won their semifinal game and dropped a close decision to the Souris Wildcats in the Potato Bowl championship game.
“Not going back to the Potato Bowl will be a letdown for myself and the coaching staff,” said Reid.
The Clippers, Reid said, will be “a lot faster team” this year.
“We have a lot of outside speed, and we are going to try and utitlize it as much as we can,” said Reid.
Quarterback Ryan Johnson and centre Matt Gunning are both returnees on offence. In fact, Gunning is the only returnee on a very young offensive line.
“Obviously you want to rely on your veteran guys,” said Reid. “Ryan Johnson, our quarterback, played very well last year coming out of bantam, and we expect big things from him. . .
“We expect our guys back from last year to lead our younger guys.”
When asked if he feels the offence or defence will be the team’s strength, Reid replied: “Right now I’m thinking we are pretty even on both sides of the ball, but I’m an offensive guy so I’m hoping our offence can do what we did last year.”
As for the Privateers, Reid said he does not know a lot about their 2013 team, but he quickly added he does not expect an easy game.
“They are going to play for a full four quarters against us,” said Reid. “We have to come ready to play.”
Summerside Clippers’ team roster: