The Winnipeg Rifles again last season finished fourth in the Prairie Conference and were forced to travel to Saskatoon to face the Hilltops in a post season semi-final.
Overall the Rifles finished 3-5 despite only scoring an average of 19.7 points a game. With another year of experience under their belt the Rifles are looking for bigger things here in 2019. They will open the season against the five-time champion Hilltops on August 18th at home.
DB Andrew Ricard departs after an outstanding season last year with 23 tackles, two fumble recoveries and four interceptions.
LB Donovan Hillary was a beast for the Rifles last season. He had a team high 31 tackles along with a sack and a half, forced a fumble and recovered one for a touchdown.
OL Brody Jones will be a big loss for the Rifles on the offensive line in a Conference that prides itself on a running attack.
What They Need:
The Rifles would like to see more depth at the quarterback position. They really like their starter Riley Naujoks however a viable back-up is something they are searching for when camp rolls around. Head coach Geordie Wilson believes this is the best team they have had with real competition at every position.
QB Riley Naujoks: With another year of experience the Rifles are hoping for big things from their pivot. Last season he threw for 667 yards on 53 competitions and had seven touchdowns.
LB Cole Sneesby: He attended the Winnipeg Blue Bombers camp and collected a defensive tackle in a pre-season game against the Edmonton Eskimos. Last year he had 23 tackles, a sack and a half and recovered a fumble.
DB Troy Wilson: He also attended Bomber camp and dressed from the pre-season game against the Eskimos. He finished with a defensive tackle. Last year with the Rifles he played in all eight games, made nine tackles, had a sack and forced a fumble.
RB Brandon Urcioluli: He was part of the Bombers’ camp as well and got two carries during the pre-season game with the Esks. During the regular campaign last year he carried 54 times for 267 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.
The Rifles have trained hard all winter, had a great spring camp and knocked off Augsburg College; a NCAA Division 3 school in a spring tune up game. They embrace the opportunity to open the season against the five-time National Champion Saskatoon Hilltops August 18. They respect them, but they do not fear them and will be ready and prepared.
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.