The Nanaimo Redmen have built their program to the point where they’re a contender every year.
So for the players, the motivation is there, right from the first kickoff of the season.
The city’s Vancouver Mainland Football League midget team opens the regular season on Monday (Sept. 3) with a road game against the Victoria Spartans.
“We’re right where we need to be,” said Trent Wright, defensive back. “We’re going to get wins, we’re going to play well. There’s always fine-tuning, adjustments that will go on through the whole year but [right now] we’re pretty much set.”
Sean Roden, coach of the Redmen, said it’s easy to talk about wanting a championship, but players need to be willing to work for one. He sees the right work ethic with this year’s group.
“We’ll be competitive, for sure. I think that we have a ways to go to be considered a real contender, but you never know…” Roden said. “When you get a group pulling in the same direction, you can go strides in a short period of time.”
Chae Faickney, veteran offensive lineman, said this year’s Redmen is a character group that wants to work.
“We have a lot of potential on this team,” Faickney said. “We have a lot of young guys but they know how to play. We just need to put it together.”
Here’s a look at the 2012 Nanaimo Redmen:
The team goes into the season with a quarterbacking tandem, as mobile veteran Jonah Wassell will share snaps with gunslinging newcomer Dylan Tucker.
Payton Paladini will be counted on to lead the run game.
John Evenson and Tyler Vollet will be the primary pass catchers with Wright and Robert Morris also running routes.
Faickney leads the offensive line, with Alex Adams, Jaden MacLennan and Ethan Schulz other key members and Tory Martin, Christian Gonzalez and Madison Boond also contributing.
The Redmen have a tradition of a hard-nosed, run-stopping defence and that should continue into 2012 with great depth on the D line and at linebacker.
Kento Takata and Tyler Wintoneak will play on the line, with Schulz seeing time there and also at LB. New linebackers Matt Vandervelde, Scott MacDonald and Alex Adams are major additions and vets Devon Carlie and Adrian Keller round out the unit.
The defensive backfield is led by Wright and Morris.
“Our eight guys in the box are all huge, all nutty guys that are going to make huge stops in the backfield,” Wright said. “Our DBs, we’ve got young guys but they’re all athletes, they can all make a play.”
Spencer Vos is the placekicker and Schulz will handle punting. Paladini and Evenson will be the primary kick returners.
The Redmen will play their home opener Sept. 9 when the Langley Stampeders visit Pioneer Park for a 3 p.m. kickoff.