Young Marauders squad ready to roll
The A.N. Myer Marauders have no plans to relinquish their role as the team to beat in the Niagara Region High School Athletic Association senior football league.
Despite losing several star players from last year’s squad that made it to an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations Bowl and boasting only three 12Bs, Myer is ready to do battle again in the fall of 2023.
“We will be strong but we are young though,” Marauders head coach Dave Buchanan said. “We don’t have a lot of 12Bs but our offence is a little older this year and our defence is young. The line will be mostly Grade 12s with a good supporting group of 11s and that’s exciting. The O line started together last year so we will be strong in the interior and the back end of the defence will be skilled. The receiving corps is a little bit older and we have good depth at quarterback and running back.”
Competing at the quarterback spot are second-year senior and Grade 12 student Thomas Somerville and graduating junior quarterback Noah Walters.
Somerville is “tough, athletic with a good arm” and Walters is a “pure passer and athletic.
“We are just going to let them compete and both of them have been told if they are not playing quarterback they will be on the field somewhere because that’s the type of athletes they are,” Buchanan said.
Last year, Myer finally shed the tag of having under-sized linemen and that beef has seasoned another year which is a good recipe for success.
“You have watched us for a while (Editor’s note: 28 seasons but who is counting?) and that size is foreign to us,” he said. “We are happy with that and we should be able to run the ball and that is our expectation. We will still take shots and throw and have that in our game but when it comes down to those nasty days when you need to run the ball, we will be able to do that.”
Buchanan expects the squad to peak in 2024 if an expected number of 12Bs return, but he’s not discounting the 2023 season.
“What it will take for us to be special this year is leadership, having guys buy in and staying healthy.”
A key player for the Marauders will be 12B receiver/slot/safety Evan Goforth.
“He won First Team recognition last season as a receiver at 145 pounds,” Buchanan said. “He has put in a ton of work in the off-season and he’s doing really, really well.”
Evan is the younger brother of departed quarterback Tyler Goforth and he matches his brother’s explosive play and the ability to make something out of nothing.
“He would tell you that he is more explosive,” Buchanan said, with a laugh. “He is that guy, for sure.”
For the record, the 17-year-old does think that.
“My brother is good but personally I think I can do a little better than him,” the 5-foot-7, 150-pounder said. “We are pretty equal but I can do some stuff.”
He can’t wait to show that stuff.
“I am hoping that I can match what I did last year. Without my brother being quarterback it will be a little weird to get used to but I have high expectations for this year.”
He had done a ton of work to get ready for 2023.
“It has been lots of field work and five times a week of power training with Steve Lidstone.”
He was motivated for the latter by Myer’s performance in the OFSAA Bowl.
“It was a tough loss and we felt our team was a little weaker and a little smaller and we needed to get in the weight room and put on some weight.”
Goforth has done just that.
“The numbers have increased a lot from squatting to bench and even just putting on weight.”
He feels his team will be good again this fall.
“We are a very young team but we are very fast and have a lot of potential.”
As a 12B, Goforth knows he will play an important role in turning potential into results.
“I am going to try and lead the team as much as I can and make sure everyone had the right mindset going into it. If we make sure everyone is doing their role, we should be good.”
Myer has an exhibition game scheduled next Friday in Waterloo and then it will compete in a jamboree at the University of Toronto on the following Friday. The NRHSAA league is expected to kick off in the third week of September.