Outlaws eyeing fourth NFC Title

Article by  Josh Brown jbrown@therecord.com , Twitter: @BrownRecord at the Waterloo Region Record.
Original: https://www.therecord.com/sports-story/7504185-outlaws-eyeing-fourth-nfc-title/

Remember to like and share the original to help our friends in the media.

WATERLOO REGION — Chris Newsome remembers the work ethic.

Oh, the Tri-City Outlaws had all-stars the last time the club made the Northern Football Conference championship six years back, but there was no attitude on the field.

“The whole atmosphere was that we just picked up our lunch pails and went to work,” said the team’s defensive co-ordinator and assistant coach.

Newsome, who coached that 2011 winning squad, sees similarities this time around as the Outlaws get set to return to the final against the GTA All-Stars Saturday at Brampton’s Chinguacousy Park at 6 p.m.

“It’s the same kind of attitude that we had back then,” he said. “We have stars but everyone is equal and there is a family environment.”

The Outlaws will need every advantage they can get if they plan to knock off the mighty All-Stars as the GTA bunch has yet to lose this season.

The team went 8-0 in regular season action, outscored opponents 307 to 41 and has added a pair of wins in the playoffs, including a 35-0 pasting of the Sarnia Imperials to reach the title game.

Tri-City is 8-2 so far and advanced to the championship thanks to a one-sided 42-23 semifinal victory against the Oakville Longhorns this past weekend at Rogers Field.

“It’s pretty huge,” said Newsome. “For some of our guys this is unchartered territory.”

The Outlaws were crowned NFC champs in 2005, 2008 and 2011. The last run saw the club add its only national title in franchise history after the lads beat the Calgary Wolfpack 31-14 in the Canadian Major Football League final.

That championship squad graduated most of its top players, and the team has been rebuilding ever since.

“For the most part there are only one or two guys that are still around from 2011 and know what it has been like,” said Newsome.

The Outlaws and All-Stars did not clash during the regular season, making scouting tough.

“It’s difficult because you don’t know what to expect,” said Newsome. “What I’ve heard is that they are very aggressive. The defence has been their driver all season long.”

But GTA is also in the dark.

And Newsome is hoping he can work that to the team’s advantage.

“On the one hand you don’t know what to expect from them, but they don’t know what to expect from us,” he said.

One thing is clear — the Outlaws are improving.

The second-place club has been getting stronger every game since dropping their final tilt of the regular season and has progressed through the playoffs relatively injury-free.

That gives Newsome hope.

“We’re finally at the point where we have all the right bodies in at the right places and we can finally do the things we want offensively and defensively that we’ve been working on all season long.”

 

Beckford and Ashe back together again with the Outlaws

Photo Details: Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks alumni and best friends Jahmeeks Beckford, left, and Shawn Ashe have reunited on the football field with the Tri City Outlaws men’s team. The two were part of WLU’s last Vanier Cup-winning team. – David Bebee,Record staff

Here is a link to the original article: https://www.therecord.com/sports-story/7343981-beckford-and-ashe-back-together-again-with-the-outlaws/ Please, like and share it to give the writers your support.

WATERLOO REGION — They’re best friends.

They won a Vanier Cup with Wilfrid Laurier University on a cold day in Hamilton back in 2005.

Later in life they stood side by side as the best man at each other’s wedding.

Now Kitchener’s Jahmeeks Beckford and Shawn Ashe have reunited on the football field with the Tri-City Outlaws.

Beckford is the team’s assistant defensive coach while Ashe is making his return as a slot receiver after lengthy hiatus due to a concussion.

“I’m a big fan of his,” said Beckford, 36. “It’s fantastic to see him out there comfortable and excited.”

Their football story goes back more than two decades.

The duo met when they were about 12 years old.

“We dated the same girl … not at the same time,” said Beckford with a laugh. “She brought him to the neighbourhood and we connected.”

The pair bonded over a mutual fondness for football and used to walk to Eastwood Collegiate Institute together and then back home again after pigskin practice.

They’ve been teammates ever since — from the youth league Vipers to the high school Rebels to the university Golden Hawks and, lastly, the Outlaws on the senior men’s circuit.

“I couldn’t ask for a better best friend,” said Ashe, 36. “He’s one of the most genuine, fun loving and kind people that you’ll meet. He’s been with me through a lot of tough things and vice versa.”

One of them included a severe concussion that knocked Ashe off the gridiron about three years back.

Ashe was playing safety for the Outlaws at the time when he collided with an Ottawa player in the opening week of the 2014 season.

“We just went bucket to bucket,” he said. “He got the best of me at 240 pounds, while I was 190. It was a pretty rude awakening.”

The hit sent Ashe to the sidelines for five weeks. He pushed through the rest of the campaign before realizing he needed a longer layoff and spent the next two-plus years getting healthy before feeling the itch to return.

“I had no intention of playing,” he said. “I thought I had hung up the cleats. But being around the Outlaws last year and the game … you just get this urge. It’s hard to describe.”

The Outlaws kicked off their season this past weekend with a 38-19 victory over the Steel City Patriots in Hamilton.

The squad, which plays in the nine-team Northern Football Conference, hosts the Oakville Longhorns in their home opener Saturday at Rogers Field in Cambridge, at 7 p.m.

Ashe felt great in the team’s debut and caught six passes for 98 yards with a fourth-quarter touchdown.

“He looked right back in his element,” said Beckford, who retired from playing after rupturing his Achilles in 2008. “He’s an incredible competitor.”

More importantly, it just feels nice to have his old pal back with the Outlaws.

“It’s a place we’ve been,” he said. “We grew as football players and best friends there. So being back together on the field in this capacity is just fantastic.”

jbrown@therecord.com ,

Twitter: @BrownRecord

City School Teacher Mixes Passing Grades and Passing Plays

By Troy Shantz (Original Article: http://thesarniajournal.ca/city-schoolteacher-mixes-passing-grades-and-passing-plays/ ) Remember to like and share the original article to support NFC football and local media.

A teacher at Queen Elizabeth II School has his own way of dealing with stress outside the classroom.

“I love hitting guys, I love getting hit … I think it’s a really good outlet,” Ryan Lounsbury, who is a member of the Sarnia Imperials football team.

The six-foot-one, 195 lb. wide receiver has been an Imperial for nine years and was recruited by Jake Cherski, who still manages the team today.

Many players on the semi-pro football team also have nine-to-five jobs, and Lounsbury is no exception. He teaches Ojibwe at Queen E.

“You walk into work with a limp sometimes but it’s totally worth it,” he said.

Lounsbury got his start at the age of eight playing Sarnia Minor Athletics Association football. Though hockey dominated his adolescent years he also donned the blue and white football jersey for SCITS.

Lounsbury had a short stint with the Lambton Lions, and after finishing an environmental science degree at Windsor University, followed by teacher’s college, found his way back to the field and joined the Imperials.

It was culture shock at first, he said.

“Coming out here and playing against men? Totally different experience,” he recalled.

“I’ve been hit hard a few times, I’ll tell you that. But it’s an adjustment. After you play a couple years you take those hits, you learn to deal with it, it almost gets you fired up after that.”

The Imperials are one of nine teams in the Northern Football Conference representing cities between Sudbury and Ottawa.

Lounsbury has experienced the lows and highs of the franchise, including last season’s exciting trip to the finals. He feels good about the current season as well, he said.

“Nothing is ever out of reach. We have some great athletes.”

The league uses a fusion of NFL and CFL rules, and the level of play is fairly high, Lounsbury said. Several Imperials have had tryouts with CFL clubs and the league is a hotbed for nurturing talent for the professional league.

Lounsbury also heads the basketball and touch football programs at Queen Elizabeth, and coaches the Jr. Sting AAA hockey team in winter.

The skills he’s learned have translated over to his time on the gridiron, he added.

“A couple years ago I stepped up. I feel like I’ve become a leader too.”

For details on Sarnia Imperials schedule and roster, visit www.nfcfootball.ca/team/sarnia-imperials

Patriots Season Opener

The Steel City team has been evolving and pushing to make a playoff run. With the sudden departure of the Sault Steelers, the Patriots want to ensure their fans they aren’t going anywhere but the playoffs.

The Patriots have made a number of dramatic off-season moves to keep them a dangerous threat in the NFC’s Eastern Division. From acquiring their new offensive coordinator Kyle Cole. To bringing a renewed ground game in their running back Tony Furlone. To finding a shutdown Defensive Back Donovan Saunders. The Patriots hail this season as The 2017 NFC Championship Tour.

Philip D. Costantini “Cosz” Owner, V.P. Football Operations for the Patriots wanted the fans to get the following information for their rematch with the Outlaws.

Location: Mohawk Sports Complex Field No. 1:  (locker rooms/parking adjacent to the furthest goal posts).
Address: 770 Upper Kenilworth Avenue,(Lincoln Alexander Pkwy; Stonechurch Rd./Limeridge road)
Admission fees: Adults – $10.00, Seniors/Students(13-18) – $ 5.00, children 12/under – FREE
KICK-OFF: 6:00 p.m.(on field arrival and locker rooms 3 & 4, access at 4:00 p.m.)
Home Team Colour Declaration: White & Red
5th Quarter: Fool’n Flagon, 2255 Barton Street East, Hamilton. Kids are welcome.
Please let us know if you require any hotel information as well.

Sault Steelers Withdraws from NFC 2017 Season

Written by Brian Kelly of the Sault Star – Please share the original story to ensure coverage of NFC Football and help the reporters and local papers.

The NFC executive are fully committed to making the league and the season work. More news on the repercussions and solutions to follow.

http://www.saultstar.com/2017/05/13/steelers-season-sacked

Sault Steelers will spend the 2017 season on the sidelines because the Northern Football Conference team doesn’t have enough players to compete.

NFC president, and former team coach, Barry Rushon was contacted Thursday night and told “we’d be dropping out this year,” head coach Frank Reid told The Sault Star.

It’s better to default early than during the season, which just causes a whole bunch of confusion and problems for the league,” he said. “It’s better to do it now than it is to wait.”

The team’s season was scheduled to start with a home game against North Bay on May 27.

Only about 15 players committed to playing for the semi-professional team this summer. Reid wanted close to 30.

We just didn’t get (the numbers),” said Reid.

A light bench was also a common problem for road games during the 2016 campaign. Reid’s concerned too few players increases the likelihood of injuries, compounding the limited roster.

He and his coaching staff are “not really sure” why enough players couldn’t be recruited given possible talent available from several sources including high school and university teams and Sault Sabercats.

There just doesn’t seem to be any interest out there right now,” said the team’s former defensive co-ordinator who began his current role in 2016. “It’s been very difficult and frustrating. to be honest with you.”

Reid suggests some younger players may be intimidated playing in a league that features some former Canadian Football League talent.

Maybe a lot of people are under the misconception that they can’t play at that level,” he said. “I think they can.”

Reid noted the accomplishments of Sault products Alex Morrison and Jordan Hoover, recently drafted by Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos.

He says young Sault players are “very high skilled (and) well coached” at city high schools.

These kids (Morrison, Hoover) are getting the recognition,” said Reid. “I’m not worried about the skills.”

The team has about six months to drum up enough player interest to return to the NFC in 2018. Team meetings begin in November.

If there’s interest then somebody has to start coming forward,” said Reid. “It’s almost an immediate thing. People have to decide whether they want to play football.”

The Steelers can opt to stay on hiatus for more than a year, if they pay the required fee to the league.

Taking this hiatus might be something that we can regroup and see what happens next year,” said Reid. “In saying that, next year starts very soon.”

He is keen to have the Steelers back on the field so there’s another option for football players from the city.

We really want to grow, and continue these opportunities, for kids in Sault Ste. Marie and players in Sault Ste. Marie,” he said. “There is some frustration there, but I mean there’s not a lot you can do. You can’t beg people to come out. We want to see it survive.”

The Steelers won a Canadian championship in 1972. League titles followed in 1975, 1976 and 1980. The team disappeared in 1987 before returning in 1996 as Soo Storm. The Steelers name returned in 2003.

Team members in the league’s hall of fame include Steve Edwards and Robin Wood.

Eight teams will compete in the NFC this summer – Ottawa Invaders, GTA All Stars, Sudbury Spartans, Toronto Raiders, Steel City Patriots, Oakville Longhorns, Tri-City Outlaws and North Bay Bulldogs.

btkelly@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @Saultreporter