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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.


CJFL National Signing Day 2019

05/29/2019, 12:00pm PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

Saturday will be an exciting day across the country

For some this coming Saturday is the biggest day of their young lives, as the CJFL presents its National Signing Day.

The day is earmarked every year on June 1st, the day in which players can finally sign with a CJFL club.  When a player signs he is essentially signing for his entire junior football career as the player then becomes the property of that team.  

Some players have attended multiple Spring Camps to get an idea of their best fit.  So many considerations are made before signing with a CJFL club; location, team support, roster depth, coaching staff, scholarship program, etc all weighs in on a player’s decision.

National Signing Day is not only exciting for the players, but the coaches as well.   Their ideas, hopes and hard work will finally come to fruition as they start to fill their roster spots.

Following Saturday coaches can continue to recruit and sign a player immediately if he’s a good fit for their team.  That said the bulk of the players ready to play in the CJFL will sign on Saturday.

Once players sign on the dotted line, coaches can begin developing their schemes and systems around their potential starters.  They can also begin preparing for their Main Camp along with Week 1 of the regular season.

All three Conferences and 18 CJFL teams will participate on Saturday, signing players to their 2019 roster.

Fans can keep up to date with CJFL National Signing Day on social media with #CJFLSigning as teams will be posting once a player signs.

Sooners Announce New Head Coach

05/21/2019, 11:15pm PDT
By Supplied

The Ottawa Sooners have announced Wayne Jacobs

The Ottawa Sooners will have a new man at the helm this season as they have announced former star quarterback Wayne Jacobs as their new head coach.

Jacobs enjoyed a very successful playing career which included an outstanding stint quarterbacking the Sooners and was highly recruited across North America. He left Ottawa for Texas to quarterback for the University of Texas-El Paso Miners (NCAA Divison 1). After UTEP, he returned home to be the starting quarterback for the University of Ottawa GeeGees.

Following his collegiate career, Jacobs travelled to Europe to play professionally. He played for the Lyon Falcons (France 1st Division), Landquart/Calanda Broncos (Euro and Swiss Premier League), and the Oslo Vikings (Norwegian 1st Division and Euro Champions League).

Since retiring from his playing days Jacobs has been coaching quarterbacks for over 20 years. His coaching career started at the tender age of 17 at the city and high school level. When his playing career took him to Europe, Jacobs brought his extensive coaching knowledge and passion with him to the European leagues.  He served as the offensive coordinator and then head coach of the Oslo Under-19 Team. He also spent time working with the quarterbacks for the Swiss Junior National Team.

Once returning to Canada, Jacobs expanded his resume serving as the quarterback coach for the University of Ottawa GeeGees, the CEGEP d’Outaouais Griffons, the head coach of the Ottawa Invaders, and the passing game coordinator and quarterback coach for the Saint Mary’s University Huskies.

He is currently coaching in Europe, but will return to the Sooners in plenty of time before they open the season August 17th when they travel to Hamilton to take on the Hurricanes.