The Valley Bulldogs PeeWee team defeated South Shore 31-6 recently. On Sept. 15, the four levels of Bulldogs will kick off the regular season with Minor Football Day in the Valley. - Submitted
By John DeCoste
The 15th season of Valley Minor Football kicked off this past weekend, but it will really ramp up on Sept. 15 as the four Bulldogs teams – Mite, Atom, Peewee and Bantam – hold the fourth annual Minor Football Day in the Valley.
“This is the only day all season all four of our teams will play in Canning,” says VMFA vice-president Kevin Hayes. “The intent is to allow past players, parents, sponsors and the broader community to come back and support youth football.”
According to Hayes, minor football in the Valley has never been stronger.
“We’re looking forward to another great season,” he said.
Action on Kinsmen Field in Canning is scheduled to get underway with a provincial Mite jamboree hosted by the youngest Bulldogs’ team, beginning at 9 a.m.
Then, after lunch, the Bantams take on Cape Breton Panthers at 1 p.m., the Atoms host Dartmouth Destroyers at 3 p.m. and the Peewees take on Timberlea at 5.
The three older Bulldogs teams all opened their seasons this past weekend – the Peewees at home Sept. 7 against Truro, the Atoms Sept. 8 against Timberlea and the Bantams Sept. 8 against Fall River, both on the road.
The Bantam Bulldogs will be looking to defend last year’s provincial championship with what head coach Reg Ogilvie describes as “a strong core” of returning players.
The Bantams have lost several players who have moved on to play at the high school level, but their places have been taken with players moving up from Peewee. There are also some new players who have come out to try football for the first time.
These players will be “eased into the lineup,” Ogilvie said, as they become used to football, the physical nature of the game and the Bulldogs’ style.
The Bantams will also have some continuity on the sidelines, as Ogilvie and assistant coaches Andrew Hartnett, Dave Ross and Devon Adams are back for another season.
Hayes feels the Peewee Bulldogs “should be a very competitive team this season,” with 18 of the 26 members of the 2011 provincial Atom championship team on the roster.
“With many of our kids in their (final) year, the offensive team is on solid ground and should have a balanced run/pass attack. The defence is speed-oriented and will be a strong unit,” he said.
The Atom Bulldogs, the defending provincial Tier 2 champs, returned 16 players from that team. According to head coach and Atom division co-ordinator Rob Suffron, several Mite graduates “are filling in holes nicely.”
The Atoms also have a staff of “nine top-notch coaches. We have only one goal in mind,” Suffron says, “to bring the Tier 1 provincial championship back to Canning where it belongs.”
This year, VMFA is trying to give back to the local community by taking part in two worthy causes. The association’s theme for this season is ‘Be a Bulldog, Not a Bully’. The goal, Hayes said, “is to build awareness of this continuing social issue and help be part of the solution.”
Valley Minor Football has also partnered with Purolator Courier in the ‘Tackle Hunger’ campaign, which kicked off at the high school football jamboree Aug. 30 in Wolfville and will continue throughout the season.
All participating teams and interested fans are asked to donate a non-perishable food item. All donations will be forwarded to the local food bank for distribution.