“We have a young team this year,” emphasized defensive co-ordinator Teejay Foley. “We only have five or six returning players, but our numbers are anywhere from 34 to 38 at practice.”
The Clippers will open the Papa John’s P.E.I. Varsity Tackle Football League regular season at Cornwall on Friday at 8 p.m.
“We are optimistic, but it’s definitely going to be a test,” said Foley. “We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
Marc Reid returns as head coach while Jeremy Hern is offensive co-ordinator and will call the plays. Dakota Dawson is special teams coach and assists Foley with the defence, and Chuck Kitts coaches the offensive and defensive lines.
The Clippers, who have lost the last two Potato Bowls to Souris, have benefited from the Summerside Waterwise Spartans’ bantam program as a number of players have graduated into varsity this season.
“We are starting to reap the benefits of it now,” said Foley. “Coming through John’s program, they know the form of tackling, they know how to run routes and it’s getting our packages and formations together.”
One big change for the Clippers is rookie Jayden Reid, a product of the Spartans, taking over the starting quarterback position.
“Seeing as he is Marc’s son I am pretty sure Marc will be at him that these are our packages and these are our formations,” said Foley. “I’m pretty sure Jayden will have a good grasp on our offence.”
One key weapon for Reid will be Logan O’Brien, who Foley describes as “a stud running back.”
Jordan Montgomery moves up from the Spartans and will join his brother, middle linebacker Dylan Montgomery, on the defensive side of the ball.
Foley admits there will be growing pains with such a young roster, but he is excited about the team’s future.
“I see something special coming,” said Foley. “We just have to work at it, especially with our numbers.
“This year, we actually have back-ups and our kids aren’t going to be gassed in the fourth quarter.”