St. Joe's Celtics have a football plan in place

Left to right: Carter Kettyle of the St. Joe’s Celtics chases down Devin Dwyer of the Peace Wapiti Academy Titans during the Mighty Peace Football League season opener at CKC Field on Thursday night. The Celtics picked up a 46-6 win over the Titans. The Celtics are in Valleyview on Thursday night to play the Cougars. The Celtics will play Red Deer based Notre Dame on Saturday morning at CKC Field. Game time is 10 a.m

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The St Joe’s Celtics gridiron squad hit the road to kick off week two of the Mighty Peace Football League (MPFL) season when the club heads east to take on the Valleyview Cougars on Thursday night.

The Cougars opened the season with a 36-12 loss to the Grande Prairie Composite Warriors last Wednesday night in Valleyview— and considering the Celtics won their opener by 40 points over the Peace Wapiti Academy Titans—logically speaking, this game should be another straight forward win for the Celtics.

St Joe’s Head Coach Trevor Prichard isn’t preparing his team that way given a large number of his players lack experience at this level of football. The head man has a plan.

“I don’t look at this year as being just this year. I have some seniors on the team and we’re still working towards the end goal we’ve established for ourselves but I look at this season as (the first of a) three-year plan,” Prichard said. “I have a super young team with a very talented Grade 10 lineup. For me, it’s about me making sure we’re developing these players properly and giving them valuable experience on the field so that over the next three years we peak at the right time.”

No doubt, Prichard has the thee-year plan down to memory and it’s not going to come to fruition if he’s lackluster with preparation.

“If I’m not doing that to accommodate the skill level and development of my players, then I’m not that good of a coach,” Prichard said. “You can have the best players in the world but you still have to work with your players. It’s about patience with the young players, realizing they’re going to make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes don’t have a rhyme, reason or explanation as to why they’re made but you still have to patient.”

Following the Cougars game, the squad has a Saturday morning exhibition game lined up against the Notre Dame Cougars out of Red Deer. Kickoff is 10 a.m. at CKC Field.

“We use our exhibition schedule to make sure we get good quality opponents for our veterans as well so they get challenged as well and prepare for provincials and playoff time,” Prichard said. “I think half our starting lineup is Grade 10 (players) so we still have a lot of young guys that need to get on the field but, for starting lineup wise, they’re still going to be a large contingent of young Grade 10s on the field during the Notre Dame game as well.”

Clean up

Last week, in front of a fairly substantial crowd, the Celtics opened the MPFL season with a 46-6 win over the Peace Wapiti Academy Titans on Thursday night.

“We’re young and it’s early in the season,” Prichard said post game. “There are thing we can clean up and things we can definitely get better, for the end of the year, when we run into November and the season really counts. I’m a little disappointed by some of the mental mistakes, especially on offence. I thought the defence played very well but nothing we can’t change, nothing we can’t fix or anything to panic about. It’s just consistently getting better for our young group of players who are going to learn lessons all season long.”

Test drive

During the first game of any season, a football team is like demoing a new car. In order to see how it moves, you have to take it out for a spin.

“It doesn’t matter how good you are, the first two games you’re going to make mistakes,” Prichard said, noting special teams is usually where it happens. “When you’re up on the scoreboard, running a lot of your new guys into football, this is their first experience and first chance. And you’ve got guys that aren’t, maybe, not communicating, so now you’re short a guy here and there. It’s not something you’re proud of as a coach because you expect everyone to know their roles and responsibilities. Everybody got in and played a role. Our goal going into (the) Valleyview and Notre Dame (games)—(is to) clean those (mistakes) up and make sure everyone understands how to communicate with one another and their coaches.”