Fellowes Falcons ready to fly in third football season 0
The Fellowes Falcons are aggressively preparing their 2012 campaign confident that this season they will secure that elusive first victory of the team’s modern-era.
That quest begins on Tuesday, Sept. 18 when they host the MacKenzie Mustangs at Fellowes Alumni Field.
After going winless in their first two seasons with the Lanark-Renfrew High School Football League, the Falcons’ coaching staff is encouraged by what they have seen in the weeks of practice leading up to the home opener.
“Our program is maturing,” said Keith Roach, director of football operations. “We are seeing a lot of improvement in our returning players and we have had some pleasant surprises with new players who have joined our roster.
The players are hungry for that first win, Roach added, noting their commitment is clearly shown in the daily practices.
“We are seeing a high level of commitment from our players and there is much more confidence going into this season, than our first two years in the league,” he noted.
Half of the 32 players who hit the field last year are back giving the Falcons a healthy mix of experience and athletic fresh bodies for the six-game stretch. Quarterback Brad Lapierre is also returning to the team. Although their offensive strategy was based on playing a short passing game, coaches will be making major adjustments to their approach this season.
“This year you will see us run the ball a little bit more,” said assistant coach and offensive coordinator Chris Cooper. “That’s what we’ve designed the offense for and we have some pretty good looking backs.”
Since they began practicing in the spring, the players’ skills have improved, said an optimistic Cooper, noting he feels they’ve got a better squad than in previous years.
“I’m seeing some maturity here,” he said. “We’ve got some kids into their third year and you’re seeing them more polished. We were a young club last year but they’re a year old. They’ve learned that much more.”
The Falcons will play six games in the four-team Renfrew County division. The top three teams in the division will advance to the playoffs with the winner taking on the Lanark County champion in the league title game, scheduled for Nov. 7. Cooper feels they can competitive against Deep River and Renfrew, however, the team he anticipates will dominate the division will be Arnprior, the defending Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association Senior ‘AA’ champions.
“They have a real culture of football there and a real dedicated group,” he explained. “They’ve had success with that program.”
However, Cooper holds out hope that Pembroke will regain that culture, something last cultivated in the last 1980s when both the city’s public high schools, Fellowes and Champlain, promoted strong, healthy football programs.
Admission to Fellowes Falcons football games is free and the public is welcome to attend the games. Some of the games will be televised on TV Cogeco and broadcast in the Pembroke, Petawawa and Deep River areas.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist