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Off-Season Forecast: Edmonton Wildcats

06/28/2019, 11:15pm PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

A look at the Wildcats off-season

The Edmonton Wildcats missed the CJFL post season in 2018 finishing with a pair of wins with a predominately young team.  With a season or two now under their belts the Wildcats and head coach Darcy Park are ready to get back to the playoffs.  They open the season on August 18th when they host the Regina Thunder.

What’s Changing?

On the offensive side the Wildcats have brought in an offensive assistant coach Blake Dermott who has a long history in the Edmonton area.  He completed his successful 14 year CFL career and has coached at almost every level.  He was named a CFL All-Star in 1989 and 1994 and won two Grey Cups.  The Wildcats are very excited to have someone with his experience and wealth of football knowledge and are hoping he has an immediate impact.

Key Grads:

DB Jayden Dalke – He was the heart and soul of the Wildcats and a tremendous leader.  He again led the Wildcats in 2018 with 44 solo tackles, recovered four fumbles and had a pair of interceptions.

WR Brandon Rebnord – He was a calm presence of the Wildcats receiving corp and was usually targeted when his club needed a big play.  He made 12 receptions last year for 129 yards, averaging 10.8 yards a catch.

QB Justin Swedish – He got the majority of the starts for the Wildcats last season completing 46% of his passes.  He completed 73 attempts for 1145 yards and had six touchdowns passes.

What They Need:

The Wildcats ground attack is a must in 2019.  It’s turning into a very exciting position for the coaching staff this offseason.  They have brought in some very talented players who all should have an impact despite being on the younger side.   It’ll be up the offensive line to give them the opportunities to make plays.

Counting On:

Linebacker Chopper Hippe was named the PFC Rookie of the Year and will be looked upon to be even better in his sophomore season.  He made 34 tackles last year with two sacks, had an interception and blocked a kick.

One of the fifth year players that will have to fill the shoes of a graduated Dalke is defensive back Matt Zarowny.  He will need to lead by example after making nine tackles a year ago.

Defensive lineman Ronny Bakehe enters his third season and must make an impact on the defensive side.  Last season he made seven tackles but didn’t record a sack.  The coaching staff is hoping that changes in 2019.

Extra Points:

The Wildcats are excited to be proceeding with a long awaited renovation to their facilities. After a generous donation they be renovating and adding on to their facility which will make it one of the top facilities in the country with a new spacious weight room and additional meeting rooms.  They will also add updated locker rooms and a therapy room to go along with a general area to host a variety of community events.  The Wildcats believe this will set them up for the next 70 years.


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