The forward momentum the W.R. Myers Rebels football team had last season is hoping to be continued for the 2013 season as the squad prepares for pre-season summer camp.
“Last year we lost about three or four major senior players for us and some were injured for a good portion of the year. We lost some good players, but I think we are going to take a step forward this year where a lot of our solid contributors are back where hopefully we can keep our forward momentum going from last year,” said Adam Hughes, head coach of the W.R. Myers Rebels football team, adding he is expecting approximately 30 players to be on the team.
“As a coaching staff, we are really excited about this year. Last year, we took a step forward from where we were the year before and I think we are going to take another big step forward this year where we are going to compete for the division championship.”
Focus on the early practices before the season starts will be on the use of personnel on defence to utilize team speed.
“We are going to be a defence-first team. With the defensive players we have, I’m hoping we are going to be able to play up and be competitive. We have a lot of speed, the last few years we haven’t had a lot of size, but our speed, whether it’s defence, offence, anywhere on the field, I think speed trumps size 99 per cent of the time if you use it effectively,” said Hughes.
“Concentrate on special teams and play a conservative game plan. I think that is going to help us compete against the bigger teams and be successful. When I say conservative, I mean field-position wise we are going to play it safe. We want to put our defence in a good position to be successful.”
Not necessarily call a conservative game plan with the offensive play calling, but rather not extend themselves to put the Rebels defence in tough situations to succeed.
Rebels open pre-season camp on Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at W.R. Myers field with the team’s first game on Aug. 30 against McCoy at 7 p.m. at Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Park.
The Rebels will be playing Medicine Hat-area teams in a non-league format, but will be returning to its roots against Lethbridge-area teams after a one-year pilot project last year playing in the Rangeland Football Conference.
Hughes was pleased with the overall competitiveness of the league, but often found the Rebels scrambling to secure refing rights for games.
“We couldn’t get the numbers for refing. It wasn’t the quality, it’s just we couldn’t get the Lethbridge refs to commit to us because they were tied up with the SIAC league,” said Hughes. “We were happy with Medicine Hat, but we found the leagues similar so we might as well go the safe route.”
While the W.R. Myers Rebels coaching staff will be helping steer the ship for the 2013 gridiron season, the ship captains will be looked on for leadership in the team effort.
“We have some kids coming from Grade 10 into Grade 11 that we are hoping will take a big step forward. Guys like Nathan Bennett and Dylan Tams. And we’ll have our seniors that have been really stellar throughout like Adrian Tams, Craig Avison and Alex Dykstra where we’ll be looking for big things from them,” said Hughes. “That is key for any team, to have strong leadership from your Grade 12s. They set the tone. As much as you want to as coaches, it is the Grade 12s that set the attitude of the team.”