Dragons football team prepare to set the tone for 2011 season
Dragons prepare to set the tone for 2011 season
The Didsbury Dragons are practising hard in preparation for the upcoming football season, as August 31 marks the first game of their 2011 season, against Carstairs Tigers in Carstairs.
As the team enters its fifth year of existence, it will be attempting to reclaim its status as league champion, a title it earned in both 2007 and 2008, said head coach Mark Lefebvre.
Every year the team trains a little bit harder than the previous year, he said, but coaches are attempting to ease the athletes into it, so they aren’t too intimidated by the amount of physical fitness football requires.
“Each year we’ve increased it, and we’ll do it again this year.”
Lefebvre said the team would likely be focusing on a running game this season.
“We’ve got three running backs returning, and a new quarterback,” said Lefebvre.
“We lost a real good receiver from last year, so we’ll be relying more on our running game.”
Lefebvre said while some of the team’s returning members are embracing the changes, as it means more field time for some of them, others will have to earn their places anew.
“Fresh blood is always good. There are rookies coming onto the team this year who are good athletes and probably will deserve some starting time.”
Veterans don’t have a reserved spot on the field just because they played last year, said Lefebvre, but they will have to prove their skills and dedication by keeping up with the rookies.
“They like that it makes their team stronger, but they don’t like that it may take away from their own playing time.”
Despite key positions graduating last year, Lefebvre said the team is undaunted, and will adapt with the changes.
“We have a good core of veterans returning, so I suspect we’ll be able to hold our own and make it to the championship again.”
The team is designed so that those who work the hardest and invest the most time in their playing skills will reap the benefits of field time, Coach said.
“They have to earn their playing time. They don’t get to play just ’cause they showed up.”
This creates an atmosphere of friendly competition within the team to show Lefebvre and Doug Wilson (assistant), Chester Block (assistant), and team manager Duke Moreau that they are worthy of receiving the coveted game time play.
“Because we span from Grade 9 to Grade 12, it actually creates a unique camaraderie across the high school level,” said Lefebvre.
“It’s an interesting dynamic. You tend to grow strong bonds when you’ve gone to war together and bled together that goes beyond just playing a sport. Beyond their ages.”
The majority of the Dragons don’t care as much about winning and losing as they do about getting playing time, said Lefebvre.
The Dragons will attempt to set the tone against rivals and last season’s champions Hanna Eagles on Saturday, Sept. 3, the team’s first home game of the season, which will be played on the brand new Didsbury High School Football Field.
“We’re pretty excited to be playing on that – we’ve been waiting five years to be playing on the Didsbury football field.”
Currently, the field’s finishing touches are being taken care of in preparation for its inaugural football season.
The practices, which have been taking place east of Ross Ford Elementary School at the vacant lot, will soon be held at the new football field as well.
Students who haven’t had a chance to join the team yet need not worry, said Lefebvre, as registration doesn’t cut off until mid-September.