Bulldogs gearing up for 2017 WECSSAA football season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There are encouraging signs for the General Amherst Bulldogs very early on in the 2017 WECSSAA football season.

There are also reasonable expectations as well.

The Bulldogs held their first practices last week at Centennial Park as preparation for the upcoming high school football season have started. Both senior and junior players were at the practices with coaches pleased with the amount of players that attended.

Senior and junior football players perform a tackling drill at Centennial Park last Wednesday evening.

Senior and junior football players perform a tackling drill at Centennial Park last Wednesday evening.

“Having 38 guys come out to the first practice was excellent,” said John Rudak, head coach of the senior team.

Rudak added he doesn’t remember that many players out at a first practice in his time with the school. Of those at the practices, roughly 16 or so were senior players but Rudak expects that to grow a bit.

“We’ve got about 25-26 on paper right now,” he said. “It’s been the same the last three or four years.”

A strength of the senior team looks to be the line, as four junior lineman are moving up to senior. That gives the senior Bulldogs about seven or eight linemen overall.

“You can never have too many linemen,” said Rudak.

As of now, General Amherst is thin at running back at the senior level so Rudak envisions possibly moving a wide receiver to running back or maybe a lineman.

“The one position that is wide open now is quarterback,” he added.

Will Borland and Shayne Purdie have graduated with Spencer Hawkins returning, but Rudak said Hawkins is a key member of their defense.

“It’s tough to take him off of defense,” said Rudak. “He was one of our best defenders last year.”

General Amherst senior team head coach John Rudak (right) demonstrates how players are supposed to approach a tackle during a practice last Wednesday at Centennial Park.

General Amherst senior team head coach John Rudak (right) demonstrates how players are supposed to approach a tackle during a practice last Wednesday at Centennial Park.

The league’s coaches have not met thus far, but Rudak believes the Bulldogs are a mid-level Arnott Conference team. They do not have any fifth year players and that makes it difficult to compete at a higher level, but Rudak pointed out they pride themselves on graduating players out of Grade 12 and wishes graduates the best in the future.

On the other side of the coin, there are a number of incoming players that could make the junior team a solid group next year.

“There’s a group of athletic Grade 9 players we’re just getting to meet right now,” said Rudak. “We like what we see in Grade 9 right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did some damage in the junior conference.”
Dino Rosati, coach of the junior Bulldogs, agreed and also was enthused about the number of athletes that turned out. He too thought there are some good incoming players into the junior football program.

“I think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good,” said Rosati, adding that about half the team has returned from last year. “I like what I see so far.”

The Bulldogs’ football program is also seeking coaches. Anyone wishing to help can attend an evening practice at Centennial Park.

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