Colors: Red and White
Head Coach: Andy Welsh (3rd season)
2016 record: 4-5 (lost to Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family in first round of playoffs)
Returning Starters: 5 offense 4 defense
The Pender Football team looks to reach the postseason again this year after going 4-5 and appearing in the playoffs last season. Head Coach Andy Welsh’s team brings back 5 starters on offense. “Returning starters on the offensive side we’re going to return, our quarterback will be, he was a starting receiver last year, Brady Oliver. So there’s one returning starter. Tyler Nelson was the starting running back…he’ll be receiver now. Jared Tyrell…one of the starting running backs. Layne Heese the starting lineman. Jesse Thompson the starting lineman. We just had to move a couple guys around to a couple new spots, but return those five starters.”
Welsh says Jaydon Jump will come in on the line, Korbin Hardenbrook will start at running back, and Sam Mailoux will start as well.
There are 20 kids out for this year’s team with 8 of them seniors, according to Welsh.
Pender and Clarkson/Leigh meet on the gridiron in both teams’ season opener for the second year in a row. Welsh says it figures to be an intriguing game. “The thing we just don’t really know what we’re going to get from them. Last year (Bradley) Bunner was still healthy when they played us, and everything ran through him. And they still got some good players. They got some good athletes. They’re always coached really well. So it’ll be a tough game. It’ll just be one of those games where we both hope we’re prepared, and can adjust to whatever the other team throws at them. And see who can outlast the other, and hopefully we play a little more defense than we did last year.”
The Patriots took last year’s contest 58-50 in a high scoring affair in Pender.