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Off-Season Forecast: GTA Grizzlies

07/02/2019, 9:45pm PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

A new leader at the top as the Grizz want to make an impact

Photo courtesy of NixBPhotography

Last season the GTA Grizzlies won their final two games and snuck into the CJFL playoffs as the fourth seed in the Ontario Conference.

The regular season finale was an exciting one with a shutout 39-0 victory over the Ottawa Sooners to punch their ticket to the post season.  They rushed for an incredible 413 yards on 51 carries and scored four touchdowns on the ground.

They will hope to keep that momentum going into this season despite a changing of the guard at the top.  All their home games have been schedule for 1:00pm on Sunday afternoons at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke.   They will open the season on the road when they travel to Windsor to face the AKO Fratmen on Saturday August 17th.

What Changing?

The biggest change for the Grizzlies will be at the top after head coach Mike Leonard announced he was stepping down.  The Grizzlies have not named a replacement yet but do anticipate naming one soon.  The Grizzlies are proud to have a new sponsor in Alterna Savings and will wear brand new away jerseys when playing on the road during the CJFL schedule.

Key Grad:

Jacob Mandel was the Grizzlies’ best defensive player in 2018 compiling a team high 29 solo tackles, to compliment his two knockdowns, two forced fumble and three interceptions.  He also had a fumble recovery and five assisted tackles.

What They Need:

Like most teams the Grizzlies are in need a quality offensive lineman.  They also hope to sign a strong linebacker core to anchor their defence.

Counting On:

WR Isaiah Smalls: The Grizzlies will look for bigger things from Smalls in 2019.  He recorded a major on a 38 yard touchdown reception in the final game of the regular season.

DB Isaiah Bonefent:  He’s been outstanding on the defensive side during the last two seasons.  Last year he made 26 tackles, had a blocked kick, two knockdowns, recovered three fumbles, forced one and had three assisted stops.  Now in his third season the Grizzlies are hoping for even more.

LB Mark Straw:  One of the areas the Grizzlies are hoping to improve upon this coming season is at the linebacker position.  Shaw will be a rookie but the coaching staff is hoping for big things.


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