Sr. Bulldogs football team looking for redemption

 

Members of the General Amherst Bulldogs senior football team practice at Centennial Park .

Members of the General Amherst Bulldogs senior football team practice at Centennial Park .

General Amherst head coach John Rudak watches his players go through a drill during a Sept. 4 practice at Centennial Park.

General Amherst head coach John Rudak watches his players go through a drill during a Sept. 4 practice at Centennial Park.

By Ron Giofu

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior football team is back on the field and hoping for a much better outcome than last season.

The 2013 edition of the Bulldogs was folded mid-season due to a depleted, injury-riddled roster but head coach John Rudak and his players are planning for a better 2014. Rudak said the most they had out during summer workouts was 17 players but that number has grown slightly to the “low 20 range,” he said.

“It’s slowly gotten a little better,” said Rudak. “We want to be at 24 (players) to start. That’s our ideal number.”

The Bulldogs have at least four players that have never played football before, Rudak added, but said they are athletic students who he will have confidence in when he sends them on the football field.

“Everyone here can play some football,” said Rudak.

General Amherst is expected to be a stronger team offensively this season, as Rudak believes an influx of Grade 11 talent will make the Bulldogs better. Quarterback Sam Girard is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in WECSSAA, Rudak believes.

“I expect Eric Wismer will be a top running back in the league,” he added.

Jarrod Manherz is also expected to be a “ball hawk” on offense and defense this season.

“He’s a double threat,” said Rudak.

The offensive and defensive lines should be solid, the head coach continued, and will be led by Jacey Young, David Beaudoin and Spencer Duby.

The team has dropped down into the Arnott Conference this season with Rudak believing they can contend for a championship in that division. He calls the 2014 season a rebuilding year.

“Being in the Arnott Conference allows us to achieve success and to allow football players to develop,” said Rudak.  “We just don’t have the depth we’ve had in the past.”

The 2015 season could be even better, he predicted, and they could move back into the Newman or Wilson Conference.

“Our goal is to have a successful year and to get more people enthusiastic about football,” he said. “I’ve been overturning every stone in the school trying to find guys.”

Young said practices are getting better and players are working hard.

“I’m looking forward to good things this year,” he said.

Teammate Michael Matte agreed, and said they have more players this season. Duby noted they have 11 linemen this year whereas last year, they had 11 players in total at some practices.

“We’re out for revenge,” said Matte, with the players agreeing it is “a redemption year.”

The Bulldogs open the season with two straight home games as they will battle Assumption and Lajeunesse in back-to-back weeks Sept. 18 and 25. Both games start at 3 p.m. at the Libro Centre.

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