Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography
The Regina Thunder finished the regular season on a three game winning streak in 2018 but had to go on the road to Edmonton for the semi-finals. They would ultimately fall in that semi, ending their season.
They have retooled preparing for the upcoming campaign and will no doubt be challenging again for a Prairie Conference title. They have not captured that very title since the 2013 season. They will open the new year right back in Edmonton on August 18th when they visit the Wildcats.
The coaching staff has had a reshuffle excluding the head coach and offensive coordinator. The reshuffle has been a role change rather than coach turnover. Most coaches are back however head coach Scott MacAulay says “it’s exciting to see the enthusiasm of the coaches and in the same breath the team will be evolving.” The Thunder coaches are all volunteers putting in hundreds of hours for the sake of loving the game and organization.
The Thunder will be missing a pair of offensive lineman as Brayden Moroz and Chad Teskey leave behind massive shoes to fill as veteran players up front. They rarely made a mistake on the line and helped their ground attack to be one of the most dangerous in the CJFL.
DL Matthew Williams was a key contributor for the Thunder last season combining for seven tackles, five assists and had a sack and a half. He also had a knockdown and a fumble recovery.
What They Need:
For the Thunder in 2019 they need instant playing depth at most spots. In the past once a player was injured the back-up player seemingly wasn’t ready to play at the CJFL level. The coaching staff is trying to solve that issue this upcoming season.
QB Blake Scherley: Last season he completed 35 of 59 attempts for 493 yards and connected on six touchdown strikes. The coaching staff will look to him to be a major contributor this season.
RB Brayden Long: To alleviate some of the pressure on a younger quarterback like Scherley, Long must have a big year to keep defenders at bay. Last year he rumbled 85 times for 482 yards and scored five touchdowns.
LB Davin Williamson: He was outstanding last season with a team high 41 solo tackles, second most in the Prairie Conference. He also assisted on 18 other stops, had a sack and forced a fumble. He will be the anchor on the defensive side this season.
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.
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.