Football Canada Cup action
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
Forgetting a pair of socks or even a helmet won’t be a problem to retrieve for a local trio on the Ontario West football team at this year’s Canada Cup, hosted at TD Waterhouse Stadium, but there’s one thing no one on the provincial squad is leaving behind.
“We got a checklist of things to bring and the one that’s already checked off is an attitude to bring home gold,” said linebacker Derek Drouillard, trading in his Junior Mustangs’ Varsity jersey for a red West Ontario, along with Ontario Varsity Football League teammates Tyler O’Henly and Zach Marcus. “I don’t think anyone has said the words silver or bronze. Gold has always been our mindset.”
The under-18 provincial football squad is already off to a good start, taking control of their opening game against Manitoba early and never looking back for a 31-16 win Sunday (July 15).
If Ontario West can win their next game against Alberta on Wednesday (July 18), they’ll head to a final showdown to faceoff the winner of the other semifinal between Saskatchewan and tournament-favourites Quebec.
“I think we have a really good squad this year,” O’Henly said, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive lineman. “You just have to have faith in yourself and faith in the guys around you at the end of the day.”
Stepping up and being a leader on a team filled with the cream of the crop in Ontario can be daunting to some and for others its embraced, but for Marcus the role was requested.
“Coaches came up to me and said they wanted me to step up more and be a leader,” said the wide receiver, transferring from Oakridge Secondary School to St. Andrew’s College in Aurora to play football and hockey next year. “It’s different in high school, these are all the top guys. Every single guy here was probably a leader on their team.”
If there was any doubt of the leadership role being donned on Marcus before the tournament started, he proved he deserved the title early by leaping in the air for a 32-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter against Manitoba.
“When it comes down to it, I know that I can make the play,” Marcus said.
Juniour Mustangs’ Varsity defensive back D'Sean Thelwell is playing for Team Ontario East in the tournament, after originally being named an alternate by the West Team.
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