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Off-Season Forecast: Winnipeg Rifles

07/02/2021, 3:45pm PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

Hungry to get onto the field

The Winnipeg Rifles missed out on their final regular season game of 2019 due to a major snow storm.   As a result and the combination of the pandemic, the Rifles haven’t played a game since October 6, 2019.  To say they are hungry to get back on the field is an understatement.

Head coach Geordie Wilson is back to lead the Rifles, but has some new faces to make up his staff.  Alumnus Marsh Burnett Joseph has been named the new Offensive Coordinator after a stint as the OC at Dakota College.  He has also been coaching for years in the Winnipeg high school and minor football leagues.  Two other alumni have joined the staff as well and will coach the offensive line; Brody Jones and former Edmonton Elks draft pick Curtis Krahn.

Key Grads:

LB Mike Hart – in his final season in 2019 Hart collected 14 tackles, four assisted stops, had a knockdown and forced a fumble.

DB Troy Wilson – he will be missed after making 22 tackles in 2019 and recorded a knockdown usually matching up with the opposition’s top receiver.

LB Cole Sneesby – in 2019 he collected 28 tackles, 3.5 sacks and had a knockdown leading the Rifles in defensive points.

Entering Final Season

DL Justin Kwiatkowski – coming off his second straight Conference All-Star selection in 2019 he collected 14 tackles, had an assist and a knockdown putting pressure on the opposition’s offence.

WR Tim Solypa – during the 2019 season he was the Rifles’ best receiver making 34 receptions for 475 yards, averaging 13.9 yards a catch and hauled in a touchdown pass.

RB Brandon Urcioluli – a powerful back coming out of the Rifles’ backfield and was the team’s top rusher in the 2019 season.  He carried 78 times for 382 yards and tallied two majors.  He will be looked upon for bigger production numbers in 2021.

What They Need:

Other than more bodies and depth at the offensive and defensive line positions the Rifles are going to have a great battle for starting roles at linebacker and defensive back.   Following the 2019 season the Rifles lost a pair of quality linebackers in Mike Hart and Cole Sneesby which will be big shoes to fill.

Counting On:

DL Justin Kwiatkowski – coming off his second straight Conference All-Star selection in 2019 he collected 14 tackles, had an assist and a knockdown putting pressure on the opposition’s offence.

RB Brandon Urcioluli – a powerful back coming out of the Rifles’ backfield and was the team’s top rusher in the 2019 season.  He carried 78 times for 382 yards and tallied two majors.  He will be looked upon for bigger production numbers in 2021.

LB Stephen Hart – during the 2019 season he tallied 15 tackles, seven assisted stops and had a knockdown.

The Rifles have high hopes for either a full or modified 2021 season.  The Prairie Conference schedule will be releases on Tuesday July 13th.

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