A younger Lindsay Thurber football team will line up on Friday against Notre Dame.
But that’s not a disadvantage for the school’s new senior football head coach Devin Bennett. Bennett, who until this year had been the Lindsay Thurber Bantam Football head coach, has worked with many of these players before and already has a foundation with them.
“There is a familiarity with the players, but they can handle a lot more scheme-wise,” said Bennett. “They’re doing pretty well, but it’s definitely an adjustment completely changing the coaching staffs and having a different offence and defence.
“I think they’re familiar with what I do.”
He believes the playbook will be a little more complex than the one he ran while coaching bantam football.
The team was hard on the practice field Wednesday evening at the high school near downtown Red Deer.
The opening game they have against Notre Dame is seen as a real test for where the team is, having been focused on practices.
“We hope to be competitive in every game,” said Bennett. “Mostly I hope for growth throughout the season and get better.
“Friday is going to be a test to find out where we’re at. In practice you can do it pretty well, but until it’s in a game and live action, then you just don’t know.”
Among the notable returnees is Sean Vandersluis, a Grade 11 who took some snaps as the starting quarterback last season as a Grade 10.
“We have a good quarterback so we’ll have the ability to pass,” said Bennett. “He’s basically a returning starting quarterback as a Grade 11. He started as a Grade 9 with the bantam team.”
Other players to watch include linemen Kaden Price and Brian Rowan and running back Max Arnold.
Bennett said the team is very young as the Grade 10s have a plurality of spots on the roster. Grade 11s are the second most abundant while Grade 12s are the fewest on the team.
“There will be a lot of Grade 10 students starting,” said Bennett. “We have a sprinkling of youth with some veterans.”
On offence, Bennett said there will be a mix of the ground game and the aerial attack and was non-committal on what the team’s identity would be this early in the season.
“From what I see, we’re making strides,” said Bennett. “We’re still not there by any means, but we’ll see how it goes.”
A lot of Bennett’s staff graduated from Lindsay Thurber last year and are coming back to coach and help out Bennett.
High school football kicks off on Friday this week. All games will be a doubleheader at the M.E. Global Field in Lacombe starting at 4:30 p.m. and the second game starts at 7:30 p.m.
Lindsay Thurber will play Notre Dame at 4:30 p.m.