It’s that time of year once again with another New Brunswick high school football season right around the corner. The 2018 season was another good despite a certain degree of controversy lingering all the way through. It is now time to focus on what’s most important: play football.
This season will have a new look as the 10-man division has officially been eliminated. This is something I cannot confirm for sure but from what I am able to find on the internet, New Brunswick was the only province to play the 10-man game in a league other than the Maritime football league (MFL). This season will feature three separate divisions with two of them being the traditional 12-man format, and the third playing 9-man. This is the more traditional style of football for smaller schools in other provinces and even in the United States. One thing I do think is that this format will benefit a lot of teams, and we should see fewer “blowouts” than we did a year ago. Also, more teams playing the 12-man game should help develop more athletes for the university and AFL levels. That is something we can all definitely look forward to this season.
Now, it is tough to predict which teams will be the strongest, as the information available on high school level football is so minimal, but here is a brief look at what we should expect in these 3 division over the course of the season.
Division 1 (12-Man)
Teams: Riverview Royals, Tantramar Titans, Moncton High Purple Knights, Fredericton High Black Kats, Leo Hayes Lions and the Saint John High Greyhounds.
The big boys, the heavyweights or as we say “la creme de la creme”. This will be the top division in New Brunswick, and these schools are no strangers to success. The competition level should be very good.
Tantramar lost some significant pieces this season so it will be fun to see how they can bounce back and stay on top of the mountain. They have shown they are able to adapt and work well with whatever they have, so we will see what coach O’Neil has up his sleeve for this season.
Now, I am simply going with the rumours that circulate around the province, but Moncton High looks to be returning many good players for this season so they will be a team to watch as usual. I am wondering if we will see the traditional “Wing T” that has produced some very good athletes in the past. If Moncton High decides to come out with a new look, the biggest losers may be the Acadia Axemen that have recruited Moncton High’s last 19 quarterbacks and turned them into stud receivers (LOL)!
The Riverview Royals are always competitive and are looking for better playoff results. They are always a very capable program.
For the Western teams, I have not been able to get much info but these are all teams that should be very competitive. They all have great coaching staffs and familiar faces coming off team NB and the Canada cup. It will be fun.
Division 2 (12-Man)
East Division: Les Olympiens de L’Odyssée, Maradors de Mathieu Martin, Harrison Trimble Trojans, Bernice Macnaughton Highlanders, Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders.
West Division: Ecole Sainte-Anne Castors, Simonds Seabees. Oromocto Blues, St. stephen Spartans, ST Malachy’s Memorial Saints.
This division is a very intriguing one t this season. From a preview standpoint, the most interesting team is the Castors from Sainte-Anne, that are coming off a very impressive campaign last season. It was the team’s first ever season competing in high school football, and they have the 2 best players in the province in the Tremblay brothers (my opinion). The Castors team is returning many players and should be very competitive.
The St. Stephen Spartans have been the best 10-man program in the province for the last decade and will always be a strong team. They will need to change their offense a little bit now that they have joined a 12-man division, so it will be fun to see how they adapt.
The Eastern division will feature many teams that are returning very good players. The team that I have the most information on is L’Odyssee, who return a very solid core of players in Caleb Fogarty, Ben Bujold, Gabriel Gagne, and Quarterback Devin Niles. This is Niles’ 3rd season at the helm of this offense, so big things should be expected out of the senior.
Mathieu-Martin is returning a lot of players and have one of the league’s best defenders in Xavier Malone. Harrison Trimble has lost a few important players but they are no strangers to making deep playoff runs and are returning a quality group of players. Bernice MacNaughton is in the same boat, but from the information I have been able to gather, they were very young last season so we should see them mature (once again, going of what I have heard). They Have a solid staff in place and coach Wasson has been around for a very long time, so it is always fun to see how these teams will kick off the season.
This season will also see the return of the Acadie Bowl after its absence last season when the two teams involved were playing in two separate divisions. This is good for the sport as the province had lost both this, and the famous homecoming game between Moncton High and Harrison Trimble that we all hope will return one day.
Division 3 ( 9-Man)
Teams: Miramichi Valley High School Pulamoo, James. M Hill Tommies, Sussex Sonics, Harbour View Vikings, Hampton Huskies and the Rothesay Redhawks.
The 9-man division should be interesting as well as we see it make its debut in the province of New Brunswick. I think this was a great decision by football NB to give smaller schools a competitive league to play against one another. This should eliminate the 70-0 scores that we have been seeing in the past seasons that can sometimes make kids hesitate to join a team at all. These schools all have smaller enrolment that makes it very difficult to compete with the bigger schools in the province. This should be anyone’s banner to win and should also help these teams grow into better programs that will move to the top 2 divisions one day. We are looking forward to following its progression and all that comes with it!
I will be back to making my weekly predictions and power rankings as coach ZEN, Pistol Pete and Mister Freeze have all agreed to return for some fun. You will be hearing from me again soon!