Fighting Irish football fit for championship year

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Photo: Scott French

St. Patrick’s High School’s Fighting Irish football team practice Thursday in preparation for their Sunday, September 21 game, a victory over Rochebelle.

St. Patrick’s High School Fighting Irish football teams left nothing to chance last Sunday, obliterating their respective opponents at the annual Tailgate match on the Plains of Abraham. The Senior team breezed past Rochebelle 40 to 20. The Juniors, meanwhile, took no prisoners with a stunning 32 to 0 win over Donnaconna.

Head coach for the Senior team Phil Trudel said, “I thought [Rochebelle] would have been stronger, although they weren’t pushovers.” Trudel said that key to the win were the efforts of offensive players Shawn Bourget and Tommy Drolet as well as James Valis on defence.

Trudel is anticipating “the best season ever” despite the loss of veteran starting quarterback Robby Burke to a knee injury several weeks ago. His replacement, Jonathan Plamondon, is new to the position but performed well on Sunday, throwing for a touchdown.

Offensive captain Jonathan Gagnon is expecting the Irish’s depth will benefit the team and help them “go far into the playoffs.” Gagnon expects the team to improve on their fourth-place, 5 and 3 finish last year.

With a big defensive line able to stop runs up the middle, combined with a powerful offence of two strong running backs and chemistry between the receivers and quarterback, Trudel told his players at practice on Thursday that their chances for a championship banner are good this year.

With Sunday’s win the Junior team advanced to 2 and 1 this season. The start is impressive considering head coach Stéphane Trudel expected the season would be a building year, as only 12 veterans returned to the team of 37.

Trudel tries to find a balance in his coaching between involving all of his players and creating a competitive team. “When the competition is tight I play my best players,” Trudel insisted.

“I try to play players as much as possible. The Secondary 1s don’t get the ball that often but I rotate them so they get more playing time,” Trudel explained.

All of the Junior captains were positive about their prospects for the playoffs this year. “We’ve got more heart this year, and better chemistry,” said Frédéric Coeurlet, an offensive captain.

The next Fighting Irish home game is October 5 on the Plains of Abraham near the running track. The Junior team kicks off at 10 a.m., the senior team at 1 p.m.