Linebackers Week in the CJFL wraps up.
Arguably the most exciting play on the defensive side of the ball is a quarterback sack. Knocking the pivot down behind the line a scrimmage for a big loss will fire up the rest of the team and the crowd just as a touchdown does on the offensive side.
More often than not defensive linemen are the ones recording a sack; however linebackers get their dues as well. A linebacker can read the play, see a gap then use their pure athleticism to pass rush into the backfield to bring down the quarterback.
The history of the term “sack” has an interesting path. It first became popular by Hall of Famer Deacon Jones in the 1960s who felt that a sack devastated the offence in the same way that a city was devastated when it was sacked. However according to former NFL head coach Marv Levy it was Hall of Fame head coach George Allen in the early 1970s who coined the term saying “Before we play those Dallas Cowboys, we’re going to take Craig Morton (Cowboys quarterback) salt and pour him into a sack.”
Prior to the term sack, it was called “dumping the passer.” A player didn’t get credit for tackling the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage until 1982. A researcher of the Pro Football Researches Association estimates that if sacks were credited in the 1960s, Deacon would have recorded 173.5 sacks in this amazing career.
Throughout CJFL history there have been some linebackers with outstanding career sack numbers and perhaps no one did it better than Dale Solie of the Saskatoon Hilltops. From 1985-1989 Solie was a beast, hitting gaps and using his speed to hurry the quarterback. He still holds the CJFL career record for most sacks by a linebacker in CJFL history with 36.5. As a matter of fact there is only one player in CJFL history will more sacks and he’s a defensive lineman. Steven Doege of the Okanagan Sun collected 43.5 from 2009-2012. The gap between Solie and the second linebacker on the list is eye-opening.
The top 5 all-time CJFL career leaders in sacks from the LINEBACKER position are:
1 – Dale Solie – 36.5 for the Saskatoon Hilltops (PFC) from 1985-1989
2 – Randy Duech – 18.5 for the Abbotsford Airforce (BCFC) from 1988-1991
3 – Jermaine Haley – 17 for the Okanagan Sun and Surrey Rams (BCFC) from 1992-1995
4 – Adam Merino – 17 for Victoria Payless and Vancouver Island Sharks (BCFC) from 1993-1996
5 – Mason Beekhuis (pictured) – 14.5 for the Windsor AKO Fratmen (OFC) from 2010-2013
Photo - Jadyn Pingue was a CJFL All-Canadian linebacker for the Saskatoon Hilltops in 2019. Credit: Louis Christ Photography
Linebackers Week in the CJFL continues.
The buddy system is defined as a cooperative arrangement whereby individuals are paired or teamed up and assume responsibility for one another’s instruction, productivity, welfare or safety.
The defence on the football field is very similar especially when it comes to tackling, sure it’s good to do it on your own, but it’s more team bonding when you can tackle with a buddy. It’s also more reliable and next to impossible for a ball carrier to slide out of a pair of tacklers.
Assisted tackling is a huge part of the game and the defensive system. Players are taught to swarm to the ball and in some cases, just hang onto the offensive player and wait for help.
When looking at the top 5 all-time leaders in assisted tackles in a single season it’s interesting to note that four of the five totals on leader board are either from the 1982 or 1983 season.
1 – Garry Handley – 65 for the Okanagan Sun (BCFC) in 1982
2 – Dave Nagy – 62 for the Okanagan Sun (BCFC) in 1982
3 – Chad Dreidger – 62 for the Abbotsford Airforce (BCFC) in 1993
4 – Garry Handley – 61 for the Okanagan Sun (BCFC) in 1983
5 – Rod Arquette – 61 for the London Beefeaters (OFC) in 1983
Each day this week a new category will featured for Linebackers Week.
The CJFL Linebackers Week rolls on.
Team work in the sport of football in imperative and this is especially important on the defensive side of the ball. When an offensive player has the ball each and every defensive player converges on his location wanting to make a tackle.
On defence, players are credited for not only a solo tackle, but they are rewarded as well when they assist on a stop. Linebackers are one of the positions on the defensive side that are generally credited for the most assisted tackles over the course of a game or a season. Coaches in particular love seeing this stat as it showcases a player’s “no quit” attitude and just because he’s not the first player there, doesn’t mean he gave up on the play.
Linebackers have an advantage to see a play develop in front of them before attacking the ball. It may only be a split second, but that’s all a linebacker needs to determine where the ball carrier is going to be and how they will help on a tackle.
Taking a look at the top 5 all-time career leaders in assisted tackles among linebackers shows a wide range of eras represented. The incredible tally of 193 by Garry Handley of the Okanagan Sun/Richmond Raiders may never be touched.
1 – Garry Handley – 193 for the Okanagan Sun and Richmond Raiders (BCFC) from 1982-1986
2 – Jon Klyne – 135 for the Abbotsford Airforce (BCFC) from 2002-2005
3 – Jean Maurice – 134 for the Sherbrooke Blitz (QMJFL) from 1986-1989
4 – Scott Gilbert – 121 for the Vancouver Island Sharks and Vancouver Trojans (BCFC) from 1997-2001
5 – Lucas Desmet (pictured) – 92 for the Vancouver Island Raiders (BCFC) from 2005-2007 & 2009
Each day this week a new category will be highlighted for linebackers week.