We are just about midway through season, which follows one of the most controversial off seasons NB high school football has ever seen (for various reasons). An off season that inspired my first write up about the 10-man division versus the 12-man division. There were various opinions being shared on social media about some teams dropping from the 12-man division to 10-man and now it’s time to review the results. People feared that Harrison Trimble, Bernice McNaughton and Mathieu-Martin dropping down a division would cause some very lopsided results and that they would be in a league of their own. Let’s break down the results for these 3 schools and see if it actually produced the results we expected.
Let’s start with the Harrison Trimble Trojans. They currently have a 2-2 record and are coming off 2 straight losses against a strong Oromocto squad and Mathieu-Martin (0-3 at the time, and will be examined further below), in a game that shocked us quite frankly. They have scored 118 points and have allowed 34 on the season. Their Schedule strength has not been very difficult if you look at it, but Harrison Trimble has been in every game even against what I consider to be one of the strongest teams in the circuit, the Oromocto Blues. They lost to the Blues 21-16 two weekends ago. I do think there is a playoff run in this team but lots of work needs to be done for them to get there. Many people thought that the Trojans would breeze through the 10-man league and become the champs but as last weekend has confirmed, the program still has a very steep hill to climb to reclaim the dominance it once had. It will be interesting to see how the Trojans rebound from a defeat like that against the Matadors.
Now to check in and see how the Bernice McNaughton Highlanders are doing in the 10-man circuit. This was the team that many people did not agree with dropping in the lower division because of its appearance in the 12-man semi-final last season. They currently hold a 4-0 record and sit on top of their pool scoring 194 points and allowing 26 as of now. If we look at their strength of schedule, we actually run into the same thing as we did with Harrison Trimble as most of their victories have come over football teams that are at the bottom of the standings and one win was against the Sainte-Anne Castors, in their first ever football game.We need to see them play against strong 10-man opponents to really know if it was the right decision or not but I do think we are going to see some very scores when they face some very strong teams in KVHS and Oromocto to end the season.
The Mathieu Martin Matadors have kicked off their season with 1-3 record scoring 33 points and allowing 129. They are however, coming off their biggest victory in a very long time as I mentioned earlier (over the Trojans). They are a program that has cleaned house and are trying to build from scratch. First year head coach Phil Long has generated some interest from young players however and is making progress. They are in great hands with the coaching staff and will be competitive in years to come. They have also had some injury issues to begin the season so I would not be surprised to see them get a victory eventually as some players get healthy. This was clearly the best decision for this program based on their results. Some people may envision their victory over the Trojans last weekend as a fluke but I think we will see Mathieu-Martin get a lot more competitive in these next few weeks.
This was not an easy comparison to do, as I’ve really noticed the gap between the strong and weaker teams in the 10-man division. I do agree that anyone can beat anyone and last weekend showed that, however, you usually have some mid-tier teams that can get surprising victories and then go on to lose to weaker opponents as well. But so far this season, it almost seems like you have 4 or 5 teams that could potentially make a run at a championship while the other teams will only capture the odd win by beating each other. We will still have some surprising results as the season persists but I think we can all agree on this paragraph.
Now for my opinion, which is the best part of the article right? I think all 3 teams made the right decision and I can say that pretty confidently. Bernice McNaughton could probably have contended with some of the weaker 12-man teams overall it would have been a struggle.
I also am confident in saying that I do not think we will see either Harrison Trimble or Bernice McNaughton hoist the championship trophy this season as I still do not think that these programs are at that level just yet (this might come back to bite him… send me your thoughts on a punishment – Editor AJ).
We need to see them face teams like KVHS, St. Stephen, and Oromocto (who already beat Trimble on the road). Sports are a funny thing however, and only time will tell. I do once again think these decisions were the right ones, and though they might be competitive against some 12-man teams, others would beat them in blowout fashion and that would not be any better for the programs. They all struggled over the last 3 seasons and are going to build up to play 12 man again, and I say that with even more confidence than when I said we would not see Harrison Trimble or Bernice McNaughton win it all this season. I like surprises though! Till next time folks!