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Central Kings, Northeast Kings victorious in high school football openers


CAMBRIDGE - Central Kings and Northeast Kings emerged victorious from the first week of high school football league play.  NKEC doubled Dr. J.H. Gillis 14-7 Sept. 4 in Antigonish, and Central Kings outscored West Kings 24-15 Sept. 6 in Cambridge.

In Antigonish, NKEC prevailed in what head coach Reg Ogilvie termed “an extremely hard-fought” victory.

Dr. Gillis, he pointed out, returned all but three of their players from last season, but the Titans’ defence “played lights out, and our special teams were special.”

Griffin Abbott and Michael Ogilvie had the NKEC touchdowns.

In Cambridge, the hometown Gators broke open a close game with a pair of second-half touchdown passes from Connor Ross to Eric Holliefield (eight catches, 108 yards) and Geoff Mullen (two catches, 80 yards).

Natan Meisner had the other Gators’ touchdown on a spectacular 85-yard punt return in the first half. Mullen added three converts and a field goal.

Ross completed 11 of 15 passes for 194 yards and would have had even better stats if both Holliefield and Mullen had not dropped passes in the end zone.

Will Crocker rushed for 55 yards on 13 carries. Defensively, Matt Spicer had an interception.

For West Kings, Colton Messom scored on a 44-yard run, and quarterback Jacob MacLean scored on a quarterback keeper. Kicker Quinn MacNeil was good on one of two convert attempts. West Kings scored its final two points when the Gators conceded a safety on a punt from the end zone in the fourth quarter.

Though his team will need “a few minor adjustments,” CK head coach Larry Priestnall was pleased with his team‘s performance.

“For our first time out. There were some mistakes on both sides, and we were able to take advantage.”

Priestnall was especially pleased with the crowd, which featured plenty of support for both teams.

“The crowd was great,” he said, “and I can’t say enough about the group of parents we have this year.”

West Kings coach Aaron Evans termed the game “a learning experience, as we are still feeling out players at different positions.

“I feel we are further ahead already this season than we were at this time last year.”

West Kings showed a strong running game from Messom and Zack Antle.

“I’m looking for good things from this squad this season,” Evans said.

KingsCountyNews.ca contacted the head coaches of all four Kings County teams during the past week.

At NKEC, Ogilvie said he had 26 players but was hoping to have 30 once school began.

Notable returning players include Marcel Bolland, Colin Hiltz, Zach Herber, Kier Frank-Rodgers, Jordan Simon, Darren Higgins, Gavin Schofield and Mackenzie Schofield. New additions are John VanLuxemborg, Jacob Ogilvie and Michael Ogilvie.

At CK, Priestnall said he had 26 players committed and expected three or four more this week.

“We have a couple of new players coming out, including our first-ever exchange student,” he said.

The Gators have “a couple of Grade 9s, six Grade 10s, and only three Grade 12s. The rest are all in Grade 11. They’re an eager bunch, eager to learn, an unbelievable group of kids. We’re still in the process of figuring out where everyone will play.”

At West Kings, Evans has a young team, with quite a few Grade 9 students, which bodes well for the future. Returning players include Josh O’Reilly, Tyler Strickland and Braden Patey as well as MacLean, Messom and Antle.

“We hope to have another good season this year and are looking forward to meeting the rest of the Division 3 teams,” Evans said.

The Horton Griffins had a bye last week, and will open their season Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at Acadia against C.P. Allen.

Unlike the other local teams, Horton is once again playing D-1 this season. New head coach Steve Melanson said the Griffins “had a good training camp,” and the bye week “will give us a couple of extra weeks of practice.”

Coach Melanson will be counting on veterans Isaac Melanson, Luke Oulton and Evan Holmes, all being recruited by CIS teams, and Grade 11 tailback Nathan Sangster.

“Our defence will be veteran and solid. Our offence will be young. The offence will be led by Grade 10 quarterback Caleb Melanson.

“We’re fortunate to be more athletic than we have been the past couple of years.”

A lot of the athleticism comes from the first-year players, including Kyle Chappus, Ethan Clahane, Mitch Miller and twin brothers Alex and Jack Hayes.

Overall, Horton has “around 30 players,” which Melanson said “is about normal since I’ve been with the team.”

He has no hesitation about the Griffins playing D-1 and maybe taking their lumps against some of the larger schools.

“We choose to play D-1 because we’re able to,” he said. “We were at a D-1 jamboree Aug. 27 and I thought we competed very well against the top teams."

In Antigonish, NKEC prevailed in what head coach Reg Ogilvie termed “an extremely hard-fought” victory.

Dr. Gillis, he pointed out, returned all but three of their players from last season, but the Titans’ defence “played lights out, and our special teams were special.”

Griffin Abbott and Michael Ogilvie had the NKEC touchdowns.

In Cambridge, the hometown Gators broke open a close game with a pair of second-half touchdown passes from Connor Ross to Eric Holliefield (eight catches, 108 yards) and Geoff Mullen (two catches, 80 yards).

Natan Meisner had the other Gators’ touchdown on a spectacular 85-yard punt return in the first half. Mullen added three converts and a field goal.

Ross completed 11 of 15 passes for 194 yards and would have had even better stats if both Holliefield and Mullen had not dropped passes in the end zone.

Will Crocker rushed for 55 yards on 13 carries. Defensively, Matt Spicer had an interception.

For West Kings, Colton Messom scored on a 44-yard run, and quarterback Jacob MacLean scored on a quarterback keeper. Kicker Quinn MacNeil was good on one of two convert attempts. West Kings scored its final two points when the Gators conceded a safety on a punt from the end zone in the fourth quarter.

Though his team will need “a few minor adjustments,” CK head coach Larry Priestnall was pleased with his team‘s performance.

“For our first time out. There were some mistakes on both sides, and we were able to take advantage.”

Priestnall was especially pleased with the crowd, which featured plenty of support for both teams.

“The crowd was great,” he said, “and I can’t say enough about the group of parents we have this year.”

West Kings coach Aaron Evans termed the game “a learning experience, as we are still feeling out players at different positions.

“I feel we are further ahead already this season than we were at this time last year.”

West Kings showed a strong running game from Messom and Zack Antle.

“I’m looking for good things from this squad this season,” Evans said.

KingsCountyNews.ca contacted the head coaches of all four Kings County teams during the past week.

At NKEC, Ogilvie said he had 26 players but was hoping to have 30 once school began.

Notable returning players include Marcel Bolland, Colin Hiltz, Zach Herber, Kier Frank-Rodgers, Jordan Simon, Darren Higgins, Gavin Schofield and Mackenzie Schofield. New additions are John VanLuxemborg, Jacob Ogilvie and Michael Ogilvie.

At CK, Priestnall said he had 26 players committed and expected three or four more this week.

“We have a couple of new players coming out, including our first-ever exchange student,” he said.

The Gators have “a couple of Grade 9s, six Grade 10s, and only three Grade 12s. The rest are all in Grade 11. They’re an eager bunch, eager to learn, an unbelievable group of kids. We’re still in the process of figuring out where everyone will play.”

At West Kings, Evans has a young team, with quite a few Grade 9 students, which bodes well for the future. Returning players include Josh O’Reilly, Tyler Strickland and Braden Patey as well as MacLean, Messom and Antle.

“We hope to have another good season this year and are looking forward to meeting the rest of the Division 3 teams,” Evans said.

The Horton Griffins had a bye last week, and will open their season Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at Acadia against C.P. Allen.

Unlike the other local teams, Horton is once again playing D-1 this season. New head coach Steve Melanson said the Griffins “had a good training camp,” and the bye week “will give us a couple of extra weeks of practice.”

Coach Melanson will be counting on veterans Isaac Melanson, Luke Oulton and Evan Holmes, all being recruited by CIS teams, and Grade 11 tailback Nathan Sangster.

“Our defence will be veteran and solid. Our offence will be young. The offence will be led by Grade 10 quarterback Caleb Melanson.

“We’re fortunate to be more athletic than we have been the past couple of years.”

A lot of the athleticism comes from the first-year players, including Kyle Chappus, Ethan Clahane, Mitch Miller and twin brothers Alex and Jack Hayes.

Overall, Horton has “around 30 players,” which Melanson said “is about normal since I’ve been with the team.”

He has no hesitation about the Griffins playing D-1 and maybe taking their lumps against some of the larger schools.

“We choose to play D-1 because we’re able to,” he said. “We were at a D-1 jamboree Aug. 27 and I thought we competed very well against the top teams."

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