By Cam Tucker, Abbotsford Times June 21, 2011
The W.J. Mouat Hawks football program will be well-represented at this year’s Football Canada Cup, the Under-18 tackle football national championship that takes place in Lethbridge, Alta. beginning July 9.
In all, four members from the Hawks program were selected to Team B.C., including defensive backs Deion Bain and Nathan Henczel, standout linebacker Jake Heathcote, and offensive lineman Dairien Silva.
“All the work that’s been done in the off-season has helped those boys to compete against the other guys who are trying out and to actually make it is very good for those four kids,” said Hawks head coach Denis Kelly.
“They’re all very deserving.”
The Canada Cup is a six-day tournament that features eight provincial teams and the best high school football players in the country.
Not only are there national bragging rights at stake, but also exposure to post-secondary programs across Canada.
“This gives a certain level of prestige to the sport,” said Kelly, who was the offensive coordinator for the 2010 Team B.C. squad that won bronze in last year’s competition.
“The colleges across Canada are all in attendance so the players have a chance to show what they can do and speak to university people about possibly attending their school in future years.”
The external pressure at this event is magnified just a little more compared to the high school season, said the Hawks’ Henczel, who narrowly missed out on playing for last year’s squad.
The plan is to try and block all that out and just play football.
“I just know to play my best,” Henczel said.
“I usually don’t think about what’s happening outside the game, like who’s watching me or what’s riding on the game. I know it’s going to be the highest level of football I’ve ever played so it’s definitely going to be tough. I’ll be nervous but I’ll be able to handle it, I’m confident.”
Dallas Yassinsky, who was among the best receivers in Varsity Double-A last season with the Abbotsford Collegiate Panthers, was also selected to Team B.C, as was defensive lineman Kent Hicks from the Robert Bateman Timberwolves.