Ben Best, with the ball, returns as a key player for Central Kings this season. File
Coaches of Kings County football teams have been saying for some time how nice it would be if they got to play each other more often. A peek at the 2014 Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation football schedule would suggest that except for Horton, they are getting their wish this season.
Schools playing football have been assigned to one of three divisions this year, based on high school population. Schools are permitted to play up a division with NSSAF permission. Horton, Central Kings, Northeast Kings Education Centre, West Kings and Avon View are all designated Division 3 schools by population. Horton has chosen to play D-1 this season; the other four will all play D-3 in the same division.
Central Kings, NKEC, West Kings and Avon View will all get to play each other twice.
Alec Hyndman is back as Horton’s head coach. He said the drawback of the new configuration that Horton will only meet other Kings County schools in exhibitions or at the season-opening jamboree.
Horton “is looking really good. We’re returning pretty much a full team, and counting the new players, we should have around 35 players,” he said.
The Griffins return eight starters on offence and nine on defence. Players to watch include Duncan Hill, Isaac Melanson and Josh Willoughby on defence and Brock O’Brien, Mike Ogilvie and Gabe Morgan on offence. Grade 11 student Luke Oulton will be the quarterback.
At Central Kings, head coach Larry Priestnall said he liked the new setup.
“It’s a good, well-rounded division, and should be competitive. The kids will be able to have some fun, and not get beat up by some of the bigger schools.”
Key returning players at CK include Isaiah Crossland-Belle, Noah Graves, Clayton Sawler, Matt Priestnall and Ben Best. Grade 10 student Connor Ross will be the quarterback.
At NKEC, last year’s rebuilding project continues this season under head coach Reg Ogilvie, who says his team “is going back to basics.”
The Titans look to be “a real good group of kids, but we don’t have much experience, including a bunch of kids who have never played football before,” the coach said.
Experienced players may be few and far between, but Ogilvie does have returnees John Main and Allan Bond, two talented players, to lean on and serve as leaders.
Ogilvie is ecstatic about the new division scheme.
“I love it,” he said. “We’re all about the same size, so the games shouldn’t be over within the first five minutes. It should also make for some good rivalries, which will be good for everybody.”
At West Kings, second-year head coach Aaron Evans is looking to build on the successes of the first season for West Kings football in 2013. “We’ve been looking forward to this season since we stepped off the field last fall,” Evans said Aug. 29.
. “With the changes to the league, we are now playing on a much more even field with the other teams. It has also cut down on travel time and costs for the team.”
West Kings is returning a decent core of players “and a fair number of new ones.” Players to watch include Kyle Gordon, a team leader especially on defence, and free safety Connor Ryan.
Offensively, Dylan Struble is back for a second year at quarterback, Daniel Nichols returns to anchor the offensive line, and running back Josh O’Reilly, who shifts from defence to offence, “is showing us he wants to run with the ball.”
Horton will host Prince Andrew Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. at Acadia, Central Kings will host West Kings Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. and NKEC will host Avon View Sept. 7 at 3:30 p.m.