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Sunday, May. 19, 2019
High-School football predictions - #5 to #8
by Randy Pascal

The annual “Pascal Prognostications” are back, for fun and leisurely reading, as we focus today on teams expected that rank fifth through eighth in the senior SDSSAA football circuit. The top four will be unveiled come Wednesday.

Lo-Ellen Park Knights (2-3)
The idea that the Lo-Ellen Park Knights would be at the top of a local high school football list is hardly newsworthy. The fact that the Knights should lead off the group of bottom four, now that is very much out of the ordinary.

Mind you, an off-season turnover that sees coach Kevin Ellsworth returning only three starters from the 2016 crew that fell in the city finals to the St Charles College Cardinals last November might constitute the largest overhaul ever witnessed by the Knights program, year over year.

Thankfully, Lo-Ellen is blessed with the perpetual teaching template that is arguably the best in the city, with Ellsworth and his staff sure to get the most out of the young talent he will have on hand. There are some definite building blocks, including quarterback Brodie Erwin, running back Andrew Langley and linebacker Evan Gedye, all of whom showed extremely well with the junior team last year.

The Knights are also deeper along the lines than the 2016 team, with Richard Duncan, Liam McDougall and Hunter Scott returning, while Will Maki, Jared Huzij, Carter Pella and Ethan Harris should make a relatively seamless jump to the senior ranks this fall.

The linebacking core will be solidified by the veteran presence of both Declan Eldridge, Ben Campbell and Hugh Gibb, while the defensive secondary will be lead by Jacob Bartolucci and Louis Mullin-Belanger.

Offensively, Ellsworth has to hope that Kaden Kirkey, Jamie Edkins, Cooper Kansala and Langley can help ease the transition for Erwin, but one should expect a learning curve when the Knights go toe to toe with the more experienced entries in the league.

Lockerby Vikings (1-4)
Coach Brett McKnight might have more top-end talent to work with than does Ellsworth, but there are far too many unanswered questions at key areas of the field to bump the Lockerby Vikings much further up the ladder.

McKnight will hand the offensive reins over to freshman QB Parker Case, but will do so with the knowledge that a one-two offensive line punch of Kyler Showell and Derek Mullin, combined with the likes of John Post, Mika Alitalo and William Gilbert will provide more protection than most in the SDSSAA loop.

The loss of feature back Jared Loyer is critical, especially with a new QB, though a spread offense that the Vikes could utilize, focusing on the receiving talents of Calvin Sawyer, David Pushman and Riley Barbeau, could cause some issues for opposing defences, if everything comes together quickly.

A handful of the big boys are likely to be asked to play both sides of the trenches, as McKnight completely retools his linebacking trio/quartet, though a secondary unit that features Ryan McDougall, Erik Michaud, Anthony Bernier, Jackson Herold and Alex Bouthillier does provide a little comfort in a league that should become more pass-centric this year, with the move to three down football.

Notre-Dame Alouettes (1-4)
The biggest additions the Alouettes made this September came in attracting the Spartans’ duo of Alec Bedard and Mathieu Chartrand to the coaching ranks, giving head coach Eric Breau more time to narrow the scope of his teachings to individual areas of the field. That becomes even more important when CND is trying, by and large, to morph some very good natural athletes into football players.

That work begins on offense, as newcomers Julien Hébert and Julien Tubin battle it out for the role as starting pivot, with Jaymes Green likely to see plenty of playing time, both in the backfield and as a member of the defensive secondary.

If the passing game comes along, the Alouettes can unleash some talented receivers, with Hunter Adams, Kevin Watson and Bryce Bérard all having enjoyed a degree of success catching the ball in the past. The problem is that a very young and undersized offensive line protecting a pair of very raw quarterbacks allows for precious little margin for error in attempting to hit those targets.

Defensively, Breau can look to about half a unit to help settle things down, with Xavier Bruneau and Bruno Villeneuve back on the line, Taggart Zuck and former running back Eric Atoh manning the linebacking positions, while Tristan Therrien and Michael Patrick furnish a level of experience in the secondary.

Lasalle Lancers (0-5)
The September 22nd game between Lasalle and Notre-Dame is truthfully something of a “pick ‘em”, so it’s entirely possible the Lancers and Alouettes will flip-flop positions. The teams are eerily similar, with some pivotal parts in the mix, surrounded by a number of uncertainties. How quickly those latter spots are filled competently will determine which of these teams might be able to throw a scare into Lockerby or Lo-Ellen.

The graduation of Gladiators pivot Samson Recollet means some growing pains at quarterback for the Lancers, though coach Mike Derks likes the potential that he sees in both Broedy Grenier and Will Sauvé, a grade 10 transfer from St Benedict.

In Luke Crepeau, Nick Crawford, Mason Bond, Shemar Walker and Riley Shea, the new Lancer signal-caller will be presented with some offensive weapons who have travelled this path before. Starting berths on the line, on both sides of the ball, were still up for grabs last week, though Jesse Kawarski, Dallas Sikatowsky, Sheldon Campbell, Nicholas Campbell and Cory Paquette are all expected to benefit from loads of game action this fall.

The linebacking group is likely to be both young and inexperienced, with Morgan Byers and Keysean Francis sure to show signs of progress, while a number of the receiving threats should also see time as defensive halfbacks and cornerbacks, likely anchored by Crawford, one of many who will do double-duty with the Lancers.

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