One of the most dominating franchises in the Ontario Conference of the CJFL in the early part of the 2000s was the St. Leonard Cougars; the only team in Quebec and they were led by legendary coach Tony Iadeluca Jr.
He coached an even 10 seasons from 1999 – 2008 and the Cougars ruled the Ontario Conference. Under Iadeluca’s tenure the Cougars won eight straight Conference championship titles from 2000 – 2007. That first championship in 2000 was just the Cougars second in franchise history and first in six years.
The Cougars won an incredible 36 consecutive regular season games from 2004 -2008 and Iadeluca was named the CJFL Gordon Currie Coach of the Year twice during that span; 2004 and 2007.
During his time in Montreal, Iadeluca led the Cougars to three Canadian Bowl appearances. In 2002 they played the Saskatoon Hilltops strong losing by just two points 20-18 in front of 700 fans in Montreal. Then in 2005 they lost to the Edmonton Huskies 34-15 in Montreal with 900 fans in the stands, then two years later the Cougars fell 26-3 to the Hilltops in the last CJFL neutral site Canadian Bowl as the game was played in Winnipeg. On route to that 2007 national championship the Cougars beat the VI Raiders in the national semi-final; it’s the last time a team from the Ontario Conference has won a national game.
Over his decade on the sidelines with the Cougars, Iadeluca compiled an impressive overall record of 82-14. Of those 82 wins, 68 were in the regular season which is second most all-time in the Ontario Conference and eighth most in CJFL history.
Following his time in the CJFL, Iadeluca became the head coach at College Andre-Grasset, a Cegep school in Montreal that competes in a College football division 1 in Quebec, part of the RESQ Conference.
With his tremendous record in the Ontario Conference, Tony Iadeluca Jr is without a doubt a "CJFL Legendary Coach."
Andre Lalonde knows all about good running backs. In his final CJFL season with the Saskatoon Hilltops in 2013 he was named an All-Canadian and the CJFL Offensive Player of the Year.
During that regular season he rushed for 1367 yards on 182 carries and tallied seven touchdowns. At that time his total was the fifth highest in Prairie Conference history.
After his playing career came to a close Lalonde came back to the Hilltops and joined their coaching staff as the running backs coach. The upcoming 2021 season will be his sixth on the sidelines.
He’s had some outstanding running backs under his tutelage including Ben Abrook in 2019 who led the CJFL with 1215 yards on 199 carries. He helped the Hilltops win the Canadian Bowl and was named the Offensive Player of the Game.
As CJFL Running Backs Week continues, Lalonde discusses with Ryan Watters on what makes a good running back.
Photo courtesy of Adam Marchetti
The CJFL running backs week continues.
Scoring a touchdown in the CJFL can bring on several different emotions and in most cases its pure joy. Joy that you’ve put points on the board for your team, the joy of ending a long drive with six points or the joy of teammates huddling in the endzone with celebration on their mind.
Only one running back in the CJFL history has experienced more joy scoring rushing touchdowns in a season than any other back. Andrew Pocrnic, as a member of the Langley Rams in 2019, seemingly scored touchdowns at will and set a new CJFL single regular season record in the process with 26 rushing touchdowns. He averaged two scores each game helping the Rams to a Cullen Cup championship and a berth in the Canadian Bowl.
Pocrnic broke Tristan Jones’ mark of 25 that he had collected in 2006 with the Edmonton Wildcats. The record stood for 13 seasons. Prior to that Jones broke the mark which was held for 15 seasons. The single season rushing touchdown record is clearly not an easy record to break. Pocrnic’s new record of 26 is safe…for now but as they say, “records are meant to be broken.”
The top 5 leaders for rushing touchdowns in a single regular season in the CJFL are as follows:
1 – Andrew Pocrnic – 26 with the Langley Rams in 2019
2 – Tristan Jones – 25 with Edmonton Wildcats in 2006
3 – Andrew Harris – 20 with the VI Raiders in 2009
4 – Richard Boakye – 20 with the St. Hubert Rebelles in 1991
5 – Daryl Beswitherick – 20 with the Winnipeg Hawkeyes in 1989