The John Abbott Islanders’ football team held its spring scrimmage this weekend and head coach Pat Gregory got a first impression of what his team is going to look like on the field as his offense took on the defence in a friendly competitive game Sunday afternoon. While the offense clearly dominated the first half, the defensive unit took control during the second half.
“We did a lot of work during the weekend and I’m pleased with the end result. I think in the first part of the game, the offense had their moments. In the second part of the game, the defence popped up and made a lot of plays too. So there is a lot of good on both sides,” said Gregory.
“The second half was perfect for me I think. We have the occasion of making sure that tradition and pride makes a comeback at John Abbott. We have a pool of players to choose that is considerable. We have very good athletes here and we’ll make sure they know that the college is able to welcome them in a competitive team,” said defensive coordinator Pierre-Paul Dorelien.
The weekend of activities comprised five practices, two meetings a day and a lot of video-watching sessions. It was during the last practice (scrimmage) that offense played against defence in a game with referees from the league present.
When asked which players had impressed him most during the weekend, Gregory mentioned the two quarterbacks, Mario Porreca who is transferring from Vanier this year and Quaid Johnson from St. Lazare but also Mike Carder, Jordan Beaulieu, Zach Alexy who play defence.
With the dread of the last season looming over the team, the players and the coaching staff seem ready to take on the challenge to kick start the season and avoid a disappointing turn of events like last year.
“We’ve come a long way from January when we walked in here. I see a lot of positive. A lot of steps forward. We’re definitely better. The coaching staff is very excited. I didn’t spend any time trying to understand the problems of 2011. My coaching staff was not there. For us, it was all about 2012 and making things the way we wanted them.
The players are psyched as well for the upcoming season and they too want to put behind the stigma of finishing with a 1-8 record for the last two seasons.
“For me this weekend was about getting the guys together and playing some football. We spent so many hours just learning football in meetings, on the field. We were taught by good coaches, coaches from universities came to see us. I’m pumped up for the season. We’re ready. This year is going to be a whole new season and we’re going to go at it at 100 per cent,” said Jordan Beaulieu.