Cougars’ coach has high hopes for ’08

Notre Dame Cougars head coach Gino Castellan has high hopes for his club concerning the 2008 Central Alberta High School Football League season.

Fullback Bryce Cox blocks as quarterback Andrew James throws a pass during Notre Dame Cougar football practice.

Notre Dame Cougars head coach Gino Castellan has high hopes for his club concerning the 2008 Central Alberta High School Football League season.

And why not?

“We have high expectations for this year and we’ll see how good we are on Friday at Rocky. We’re pretty good at the skill positions and that could go a long way for us,” the Cougars boss said Wednesday, looking ahead to a season-opening meeting with the host Rocky Mountain House Rebels.

“We’re hoping to be right up there this year . . . be in the top four, make the playoffs and then see what happens.”

The Cougars, of course, are historically among the league’s top-four teams and last year finished 6-2 in regular-season play before falling to the Sylvan Lake Lakers in a semifinal.

“That’s right, but what’s important this year is that we progress each week and hopefully be in our full-game mode by playoff time,” said Castellan. The Notre Dame squad is not necessarily in a rebuilding stage, yet neither are the Cougars top-heavy with rookies.

“We have a mix of kids. We have some good Grade 10s and 11s who are first-year players or players who were here last year and are now starting,” said Castellan.

“It’s a good mix. We’re happy. We have 49 kids out (for regular practice), which is the most I’ve had in the last 10 years.”

Castellan insisted the quantity is not without quality.

“Absolutely, there’s some good young kids who have come in from the junior program which is paying dividends for us. They’ve come in here with some skills, which is good to see.”

Some of the more impressive junior Cougars graduates include guard Logan Sabourin, slotback Nathan Stearns and wideout Tyler Cassidy.

Sophomore Andrew James will start at quarterback and will hand the ball to transfer student Connor Toyota — a swift and sturdy running back from Grande Prairie — on a regular basis.

“We have guys who can run and catch the ball,” said Castellan, referring to his new back and a fleet of receivers that also includes veteran Patrick Dolan.

The Cougars’ defence shapes up as one of the league’s best, and could in fact be unparalleled this season.

“I think that’s where our strength is going to be,” said Castellan, who lost just two players from the ‘other’ side of the ball to graduation.

The list of key defensive players includes rush end Connor McLachlan, linebackers Ethan and Conner Borle and A.J. Shenner, and cornerback Tyler LaGrange.

“We’re going to have a good (defensive) crew,” said Castellan.

With just one Grade 12 returnee — centre Dan George — the Cougars head coach admitted the offensive line may be a concern, at least early on.

Olie Streans has joined a Notre Dame coaching staff that also includes fellow assistants Rob Blais, Gary LaGrange, Kent Plosz and Steve Molesky.

Contact Greg Meachem at sports@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Man killed in collision near Markerville

A 55-year-old man is dead after a collision near Markerville Friday night.… Continue reading

La Loche school shooter carried out plan with ‘stark efficiency:’ Crown

MEADOW LAKE, Sask. — A Saskatchewan judge is weighing whether a teenager… Continue reading

Castor triple-murder trial resumes on Monday

Trial was delayed two weeks for two men accused of killing Castor-area family

Red Deer Royals are sending 1,000 letters to Trudeau

The band must pay for the last 20 per cent of fieldhouse costs

Central Alberta real estate market reflects Alberta’s slow recovery

Real estate markets will bounce back but incoming mortgage changes don’t help, say realtor groups

WATCH: A magical Harry Potter weekend in downtown Red Deer

Wizards, witches and muggles are flocking to downtown Red Deer to celebrate… Continue reading

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Sockey Night at Saturday’s Rebels game

United Way Central Alberta is determined to provide warm feet for all… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

4 B.C. prisons install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

The scanners are aimed to combat the smuggling of contraband including weapons and drugs

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month