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Braedan Beggs: Fitting the MVP description to a T
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Most Valuable Player: Thy name is Braedan Beggs. (perhaps Shakespeare and sports don’t mix)

To be sure, the SDSSAA senior football league this fall is teeming with top end talent, including a number of athletes who joined Beggs on the Sudbury Jr Spartans championship roster this past summer.

Yet when one thinks of the league MVP, the one singular athlete deemed Most Valuable to his team, the conversation stops and ends with the 16 year-old multi-threat quarterback of the Confederation Chargers.

Steered initially towards the more traditional sporting starting points of soccer and hockey on a local level, the younger of two children in the family started to show interest in football in and around grade seven.

“I watched a lot of NFL and was getting excited about the high-school season,” said Beggs. But where some scratch this itch by enrolling with the Joe MacDonald Youth Football League, a combination of the pandemic and simple oversight would keep Beggs on the sidelines until his second year at Confederation Secondary.

That’s when his eyes were first opened wide.

“Watching the professionals, they make it look a lot easier than it is,” stated Beggs. “There’s a lot more hard work that you have to put in that goes unnoticed. To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with how I performed during the (2021) high-school season. But I loved the sport and thought I could do a lot better than what I showed.”

Where some require a degree of success to fuel the foundation of confidence, Beggs was driven by passion and self-belief. Though he had lined up both in the backfield and as a receiver with the Chargers, position specifics were not about to stand in his way.

“I wasn’t too picky about where they (Jr Spartans) would put me,” said Beggs. “As long as I had the ball in my hands, I wanted to show people what I could do, that I could make an impact as a member of the team.”

That he did – albeit on a roster blessed with an unusually deep array of playmaking talent – certainly by typical Sudbury standards. There is little doubt that the Sudbury Jr Spartans championship run this past summer will always hold a special place in the memories of all those who experienced it.

“In training camp, I knew that our team had a special bond,” said Beggs. “It was like a big puzzle. Everyone fit into their certain positions, their certain places. Everyone just clicked, right off the bat.”

For Beggs, that place would again be at either running back or receiver, a chance to have the ball in his hands from time to time, with the Jr Spartans coaching staff looking to spread the ball around. The staff at Confederation had other ideas.

“One of my coaches stayed with me for 15 minutes after practice and asked me to throw the ball with him,” Beggs recalled. “I honestly had no idea of what was going on. Apparently the coaches had made up their mind at that point.”

They agreed with Beggs – get the ball into his hands as much as possible.

At quarterback, that means basically on every offensive play. No one questioned whether he would be able to run with the ball; that much was already evident. The surprise to some (including myself) has been his ability to deliver accurately in his passing game, including throws on the move – and in both directions.

“I definitely learned how to throw from my coach Shane (Hutchinson),” said Beggs. “He literally taught me everything I know about playing quarterback. He’s an amazing coach.”

That said, much like his counterpart and Spartans teammate over at Lo-Ellen (Steven Sola), there is always a question of balance, looking to understand when to pass and when to run. “To be honest, it is still a bit of a challenge,” acknowledged Beggs. “Having played as a receiver, I know what it’s like to be open and not have the ball thrown to you.”

“I have trust in all of my receivers. And when they are covered, they know that they are covered so they are fine with me tucking the ball and just going.”

Beggs is very much a complete student of the game – which means availing himself to every possible source of good information. “I have learned a lot from Steven Sola,” he said. “Having the opportunity to play with him in the summer and reach out to him, when I had questions, despite playing on opposing teams really helped me out.”

Braedan Beggs is a confident young man, but he seldom if ever lets it stray beyond that – even when looking ahead to possible post-secondary options. “I’ve always wanted to play university ball and honestly, I am really not picky on where I would play.”

“If they wanted to put me at defensive back, I would do everything in my power to learn the position.”

That kind of attitude is invaluable – or, in the case of Braedan Beggs, most valuable.

Sudbury Wolves