After a busy offseason of recruiting and training, the Dalhousie Tigers Football program is looking forward to their eighth season. After three consecutive trips to the Atlantic Football League championship since 2015, the Tigers look to start the season 1-0 against the UNB Fredericton Redbombers this Saturday at Wickwire Field, in a rematch of the 2017 AFL Championship. The Tigers have 31 returning players from the 2017 squad.
Head Coach Mark Haggett returns to the Tigers for his fifth year with the program and third as head coach, and has assembled a team of coaches and athletes that will look to make a fourth-straight birth into the AFL Championships.
New to the coaching staff is Dave Kelly who has over 20 years of coaching experience at the high school and provincial levels as a head coach and coordinator.
Also joining the squad Justin Palardy, a CFL veteran kicker who set the Winnipeg Blue Bombers single-season record for place-kicking accuracy with 86.7%, a feat he would equal in 2012. Bill Haley also joins the Tigers coaching staff with over 20 years experience at the minor and high school levels.
Tigers Alumni Louis Gauvin (WR), Kenzie MacNeil (DB), Zack Leger (RB), and Casey Jones (OL) will serve as positional coaches for 2018.
The Tigers defence is poised to make an impact in 2018 under the leadership of defensive coordinator Dave Kelly. Returning to the defensive line are Connor Manson, Eric Purcell, and Jesse Legault. New to the DL in 2018 is Liam Gould (Eskasoni, NS), Tyler Raycroft (Halifax, NS), Brad Burgess (Calgary, NB), and Wyatt Noel (Halifax, NS). Robie Holland will look to make an immediate impact for the Tigers DL after spending three years with the Mount Allison Mounties.
Giovanni Holmes and Sam Jennings-Lindsay will make the jump to linebacker in 2018 after success at defensive end. They will round out the linebacking core with returning LB Liam Manson. New linebackers this year are Jack Hamilton (Ottawa, ON) and Hoon Choi (Shediac, NB).
The defensive secondary coached by Tigers alum Kenzie MacNeil has six returners in Tyson Young, Gordon Brown, Kash Patel, James Young, Will Keneford, and Moses Contreras. Joining the DB core is Blake Rowe (Irishtown, NB), Niko Davies (Halifax, NS), and Devon Taylor (Halifax, NS).
Tigers Offense Preview
Offensive coordinator Evan Brown looks to lead the Tigers to a successful year with second-year quarterback Chris Duplisea at the helm. Justin Morgan (Sackville, NS), will join Chris at QB.
The Tigers have five returning offensive linemen (Connor Paquette, Max Martin, Owen Smith, Nicolas Pompeo, Tommy Panther), and add depth to the line with three key pick-ups:
- Bailey Westby, Regina, SK: 6’5″ 390 LB
- Cal Zeran, Cornwall, ON: 6’5″, 275 LB
- Eamon Staples, Glenholme, NS: 6’1″, 255 LB
The Tigers have veteran strength at receiver with Alistair Chauhan, Jack Underhill, Ben Christensen, and Spencer Muise returning. Standout receivers Guillaume Bernier and Chad Kirkhus come back to the Tigers after being a part of the championship squad in 2016.
The receiving corps has also gotten a major boost from five recruits:
- Alex Furlotte, Halifax, NS: 6’0″, 185 LB
- Matt Lindsay, Montreal, QC: 6’1″, 190 LB
- Malcolm Gascoigne, Dartmouth, NS: 6′ 4″, 205 LB
- Joseph Fiander, Halifax, NS: 6′ 2″, 190 LB
- Morgan Laws, Bedford, NS: 6′ 4″, 200 LB
At running back, the Tigers will look to Zacchary Kuhn and Jason Watts as a tandem to carry the load. Returning to the RB position from 2017 is Andres Diaz. Vid Feher (Halifax, NS), and Dev Naik (Sydney, Australia) join the Tigers for 2018.
Catch the Tigers in action this Saturday at Wickwire Field at 7:00 pm!