With spring upon us and local sports fields drying up, the area’s football clubs would normally be running full steam ahead, preparing for their 2020 outdoor gridiron competitions.
However, as we all know, this is not a normal year.
Football, like all sports, remains in limbo due to the COVID-19 isolation requirements. The Cornwall Wildcats are doing their best to remain connected to players during this time, recently launching video workouts via the club’s Facebook page.
Football Canada, the nation’s oversight body for the gridiron game, yesterday issued a recommendation to leagues and clubs across the country to consider “suspension of practice or play until further notice.”
The Cornwall Wildcats had begun pre-season training camp for the OFC provincial team under new head coach Alex Labonte. As well, the club was running speed and agility training, along with NCAFA teams pre-season practices. All of these activities are suspended, effective March 13.
Labonte adds, “It’s a temporary stop, hopefully.” At the OFC level, players are being encouraged to work out on their own. The head coach is also looking at holding meetings online, via FaceTime.
The Glengarry Gaels football club hadn’t yet begun its spring activities, president Ian Parent noted in an online post. The focus currently is on player registration for the spring outdoor tackle season.
Tackle football tryouts for the Cornwall Wildcats of the OFC and for Team Ontario at the U18 and U16 levels will be held in March.
The Wildcats, for ages 16 through 19, start March 1, at the Cornwall Fieldhouse, at 7 p.m. The club invites players to pre-register online.
Here’s the complete schedule for the team’s training 2020 camp.
The Wildcats play in a provincial league for U20 players. Home games take place at Joe St. Denis Field in Cornwall, with road games in various parts of the province. The season runs from late May through early August.
The club’s top team, which competes in the provincewide OFC, will have a new head coach for the 2020 season, as Alex Labonte takes the reins. (Check out my previous story on this announcement.) The OFC Wildcats have scheduled their open tryouts to begin Sunday, March 1, at the Cornwall fieldhouse, 7 to 9 p.m. This program is open to athletes aged 16 through 19.
The 2020 football season kicked off at the Cornwall fieldhouse over the weekend, as youngsters ages 7 through 13 began an eight-week winter skills camp led by coaches from the Cornwall Wildcats Football Club.
At a season-capping banquet in December, the Cornwall Wildcats Football Club celebrated the top athletes from its 2019 OFC squad.
The December 15 gathering saw team staff and players gather to reflect on the season that saw the Wildcats reach the East Division final, before bowing out to the Huronia Stallions in Barrie.
Despite the loss, it was a positive season for the club, with the team finishing at 6-3-1 on the season.
The highlight was winning the east semifinal, the first playoff win for the Wildcats FC since 2014.
Graduating players are Nick Longchamps, Steffon Lee, Keighlan Thompson, Tyler Murray, Mello Mundy, Cody Brammal, Alex Este, John Davis, Connor MacMillan, Jordan Millward, Brady Seguin, Morgan Kane, Jordan Lalonde, Nick Lupien, and Rylan Duhart.
Brody Fairbairn was honoured with the team MVP award. Jordan Millward was named offensive MVP, and Yannick Lafrance won defensive MVP honours.
Other awards: Morgan Kane (offensive line MVP), Connor MacMillan (defensive line MVP), Brady Seguin (offensive rookie), Codie Brammall (defensive rookie), Max Sabourin (special teams MVP), and Jeremy Latour (coaches’ award).
The Cornwall Wildcats OFC team will play its 11th season in 2020 with a new head coach, as announced in this previous post.
The Cornwall Wildcats, which play in the province’s top junior football league, will have a new head coach for the 2020 spring gridiron season.
Bainsville’s Alex Labonte has been named to the post.
The 28-year-old played his junior football in Quebec’s CEGEP league, before moving on to suit up at the university level for the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Labonte was named to the top job earlier this month and tells me he has already started working, particularly on the recruitment front. On his role as head coach, he says, “It’s gonna be a good challenge.” He had served over the past few years as an assistant coach.
The Cornwall Wildcats Football Club held its fall awards banquet on Sunday, officially capping off the NCAFA season and recognizing the contributions of the top athletes across the five teams that competed in the Ottawa-based gridiron tackle football league.
The fall 2019 season was quite a successful one for the Wildcats, which saw one team, the tyke 2 squad, capture an ‘A’ championship, while another, the mosquito ‘Cats, claimed a ‘B’ crown. Cornwall’s peewee team finished as B-side runners-up. The tyke 1 Wildcats and the bantam team both reached their respective ‘A’ semifinals.
For more on the Cornwall Wildcats this season, please see these posts:
At Sunday’s awards, Nick McAuley was honoured as NCAFA Player of the Year. Melinda Summers was recognized as NCAFA Volunteer of the Year, and Matthew Bateman was saluted as NCAFA Coach of the Year.
Tyke 1 awards
Colin Markell (Team MVP), Hayden Quibell (Offensive MVP), Liam Bourbonnais (Defensive MVP), Colton Fardy (Lineman), Jaxson Berniquer (Rookie of the Year), Brody Herrington (Coaches’ Award).
Tyke 2 awards
Bryce Camplin (Team MVP), Connor Hamelin (Offensive MVP), Myles Merpaw (Defensive MVP), Preston King (Rookie of the Year), Max Legros (Lineman), Caleb Martin (Coaches’ Award).
Ben Jackman (Team MVP), Noah Carter (Offensive MVP), Elliot Keenan (Defensive MVP), Kingston King (Rookie of the Year), Phoenix Oakes (Special Teams MVP), Daniel Merpaw (Coaches’ Award), Liam McNally (Offensive Line MVP), Rahontsiahawi Jacobs (Defensive Line MVP).
Nick McAuley (Team MVP), Carter Camplin (Offensive MVP), Jayvyn Ncube (Defensive MVP), Zachary Aubin (Special Teams MVP), Logan Summers (Rookie of the Year), Kash Anderson (Offensive Lineman MVP), Cassius Collins (Defensive Lineman MVP), Damien Gregory (Coaches’ Award).
Damien Morin (Team MVP), Noah Cardinal (Offensive MVP), Griffin Charlebois (Defensive MVP), Tristan Deschamps (Specials Teams MVP), Reilly Taillon (Offensive Line MVP), Keegan McNally (Defensive Line), Xavier Uhr (Rookie of the Year), Aiden Laird (Coaches’ Award).
The county’s Cumberbatch twins, Eric and Patrick, have signed letters of intent to join the Gee-Gees football team at the University of Ottawa for the 2020 season, following their graduation from Alexandria’s École secondaire catholique Le Relais next June.
Familiar faces on local football fields, the boys grew up playing the gridiron game for the Glengarry Gaels, then the Cornwall Wildcats, most recently with the Seaway City’s OFC team. The Cumberbatch boys have also suited up for clubs in the national capital region, including the Orleans Raftsmen, which competes in Quebec’s midget league.
Alex Labonte, a member of the Ottawa Gee-Gees coaching staff, was instrumental in the signing, which officially took place at the high school on November 14.
Labonte coached the Cumberbatch twins, who both play the defensive back position, with the Wildcats, describing them as athletic, interchangeable, and exhibiting a similar style of play.
He encouraged senior Gee-Gees coaches to attend Wildcats games to scout the boys, and in time offers were extended to Eric and Patrick.
A signing ceremony in front of the student body included the twins, their parents, Labonte, and other Ottawa coaches.
The Cumberbatch boys have already begun training with the Gee-Gees, travelling weekly, with another recruit from Vankleek Hill, to Ottawa for sessions with the team’s strength and conditioning coach.
The expectation is that they will again play OFC Cornwall Wildcats football in the spring before attending the U-Sports Ottawa Gee-Gees main camp which is scheduled to begin the second week of August.
Yes, you’re seeing double! #GGnation is proud to welcome twins Eric and Patrick Cumberbatch to our program!
Ottawa Gee-Gees football club, on Instagram
As Labonte puts it, the Cumberbatch boys have all the tools to take their play to the next level.